Bbc news — tough eu smoking rules approved

«The new rules will help to reduce the number of people who start smoking in the EU.

«These measures put an end to products which entice children and teenagers into starting to smoke in the European Union.»

Simon Clark, the director of the pro smoking campaign group Forest, said banning menthol cigarettes was a ban on consumer choice that «will do little» to deter children from smoking.

He also questioned the need for plain packaging legislation to remove any branding from packs, which is being considered in some EU countries, including the UK.

Uniform or plain packs have been introduced in Australia

«If health warnings are going to be even more prominent, dominating both sides of the pack, why on Earth do we need plain packaging?» he asked.

«At the very least the government should wait and see what impact the larger warnings have before introducing standardised packs which are opposed by so many people.»

The commission said plain packaging could go ahead when «justified on grounds of public health».

Cancer Research UK’s head of tobacco policy, Alison Cox, said «Today is a great day for health. The Tobacco Products Directive sets standards on tobacco which will bring real benefits for people’s health in the UK and across Europe.»

Archie Turnbull, the president the Smoke Free Partnership, said «Today marks a genuine turning point for European tobacco control and a huge stride towards a tobacco free Europe.»

England’s Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, said «Today’s vote in the European Parliament to support new Europe wide controls on tobacco is good news for people’s health.

«The Government is serious about reducing smoking rates and in particular stopping children from taking up smoking. I am very pleased that we have made a significant step towards further tough action on tobacco in the UK and across Europe.»

Bbc news — meps tighten anti-tobacco laws aimed at young smokers

Packs of 10 cigarettes, considered popular among younger smokers, will also be banned.

Fourteen EU states already have 20 as the minimum, four stipulate a minimum of 19, and in the UK and Italy the minimum is 10.

Smaller than normal packs of roll your own tobacco will still be allowed under the new rules.

It was the European Parliament’s first reading of a draft tobacco directive which could become law in 2014. It would then take two more years to become law in each of the 28 EU member states.

There has been intense lobbying of MEPs by the tobacco industry and health campaigners.

The Commission says almost 700,000 Europeans die from smoking related illnesses each year equal to the population of Frankfurt or Palermo. The costs for healthcare in the EU are estimated to be at least 25.3bn euros ( 20.6bn $33.4bn) annually.

Mixed reactions

Conservative and Liberal MEPs welcomed the amendments made to the original proposal from Labour’s Linda McAvan.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms McAvan said she was disappointed that slim cigarettes were not banned.

But cigarette packaging made to look like lipstick or perfume containers attractive to girls will disappear, she noted.

There will now be further negotiations with the Council the grouping of relevant EU ministers. MEPs may manage to avoid a second vote and fast track the legislation so that it is adopted before the May 2014 European elections.

The proposals also include a ban on words like «light», «mild» and «low tar», deemed to be misleading, and a ban on oral tobacco called snus although Sweden would retain its exemption.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg called the vote «positive». «I am confident that the revised Directive on Tobacco Products can still be adopted within the mandate of the current Parliament,» he said.

But Carl Schlyter MEP, health spokesman for the Greens, called it «a shameful day for the European Parliament, as a centre right majority, led by the EPP group, has done the bidding of the tobacco industry and voted for weaker rules».


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