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30. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 134/167

(98/C 134/228) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3455/97

by Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (PPE) to the Commission
(31 October 1997)

Subject: Nicotine dependency caused by tobacco

The nicotine contained in tobacco products is a substance which acts upon the central nervous system creating a
dependency comparable to that caused by, say, heroin or cocaine. The limits on toxicity levels of tobacco
products have concentrated on the quantity of tar, but no common European limit value for nicotine has been set.
At present the standards merely require the nicotine content of the product to be stated on the packet. This is a
distortion of the situation, because it is precisely nicotine dependency which keeps tobacco consumption going.

What concrete measures, on what timescale, does the Commission intend to take to define the maximum nicotine
content of tobacco products in Community law?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission

(24 November 1997)

The Commission adopted a communication on smoking prevention on 18 December 1996 (1). This identifies
several policy options at Community level, including that nicotine addiction be considered as a dependency, thus
allowing it to be tackled through the relevant Community public health programmes. It is furthermore suggested
that a maximum level of nicotine in cigarettes could also be considered. As regards options for improving
cooperation between Member States, the Commission’s communication proposes the provision of smoking
cessation medications (nicotine chewing gums, nicotine ‘patches’) at minimal or no cost to smokers.

The communication has been sent for the opinion of the Parliament. The Commission will examine the reactions
to the text and in the light of this examination may bring forward appropriate proposals for actions and measures.

(1) COM(96) 609 final.

(98/C 134/229) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3483/97

by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(31 October 1997)

Subject: Instances of sexual abuse in an EU nursery

According to information from trade unions, which enlisted Parliament’s powers of scrutiny to support them,
there have been instances of sexual abuse of children aged 2 and 3 in the Clovis interinstitutional nursery housed
in the Commission building.

As the Commission is already aware of this situation, is it conducting or will it conduct an inquiry − in tandem
with the Belgian police’s investigation which has been going on for four months − to establish the exact
circumstances under which these events took place and where responsibility lies for what happened in the
nursery, which the Commission has contracted to a private firm. Finally, what is the Commission’s
responsibility for the security of children in a nursery housed in its own building, the parents of whom are all staff
of the EU Institutions? What criteria are used in entrusting the children of EU officials to private firms and how
are the staff of EU nurseries selected? What measures will the Commission take as a matter of urgency to ensure
that children in the nursery are completely secure?