American regulator says menthol cigarettes ‘worse’ than normal cigarettes — european lung foundation[uk]

Regulators in the USA have said menthol cigarettes are more harmful than other cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that while mint flavoured cigarettes may be just as toxic as others, they are worse as it is easier to start smoking them and harder to quit.

A new report from the FDA found that the cooling and anaesthetic qualities of the menthol made them less harsh and more appealing to smokers. The report’s conclusions echoed some of the findings of an earlier review from 2011, which suggested that a ban on menthol cigarettes would benefit public health.

The FDA has commissioned further research into the subject and is inviting input from the health community, tobacco industry and members of the public about the products.

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European parliament approves tough rules on electronic cigarettes |

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The European Parliament adopted rules requiring electronic cigarettes to carry health warnings and be childproof.

PARIS The European Parliament on Wednesday approved rules for the region s fast growing market for electronic cigarettes, regulations that could help set a benchmark for standards around the world.

Beginning in mid 2016, advertising for e cigarettes would be banned in the 28 nations of the European Union, as it already is for ordinary tobacco products. E cigarettes would also be required to carry graphic health warnings and must be childproof. The amount of nicotine would be limited to 20 milligrams per milliliter, similar to ordinary cigarettes.

Governments across the globe are grappling with how to regulate e cigarettes, which turn nicotine infused propylene glycol into an inhalable vapor. As sales of e cigarettes have ballooned, the debate over the public health implications has intensified.

The Food and Drug Administration in the United States is soon expected to issue regulations for the devices some American cities have already acted independently to ban e cigarettes in public places.

A shop for electronic cigarettes in Paris. The rules adopted on Wednesday in Europe go further than United States Fohlen for The New York Times

In Europe, the tobacco legislation just needs the final approval of member states something that appears all but certain. It is expected by April.

The regulation of e cigarettes in Europe is part of a broader overhaul of the region s tobacco rules, which have been in place since 2001.

The rules adopted on Wednesday go further than United States laws. Along with the e cigarette changes, they will require that the top 65 percent of all cigarette packs be covered with health warnings and pictures of things like diseased lungs. They would ban all tobacco products specifically targeted at children, like chocolate cigarettes, as well as cigarettes that come in packages designed to look like lipstick or perfume containers. Menthol cigarettes would also to be prohibited, after a four year delay.

But the new rules stop short of an earlier proposal to regulate e cigarettes as medicines. Such oversight would have moved them out of the specialty shops that have sprouted across Europe and into drugstores, where they would have been subject to the same regulatory regime as pharmaceuticals.

This is a victory, said Linda McAvan, the British Labour Party member of the European Parliament who guided the legislation through the chamber in the face of determined opposition from the tobacco industry. The original proposal was stricter, and I would have voted for that, but the new law is anyway a huge step forward in tobacco control, she added.

The fight will probably continue as Big Tobacco and e cigarette start ups looks to protect their business. For example, the tobacco companies case has previously been taken up by countries like Ukraine, Cuba and Indonesia in a challenge to Australia s rules at the World Trade Organization, arguing that the regulations constitute technical barriers to trade and violate the companies intellectual property rights.

I m totally confident that we ll be taken to court by the tobacco companies, Ms. McAvan said, adding that it was worrying that they may try to abuse trade treaties.