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.»

Parliament adopts new eu tobacco rules

Members of the European Parliament voted today (26 February) to approve a deal reached with member states in December on new EU tobacco legislation will, controversially, tightly regulate the content and marketing of electronic cigarettes.

Today’s vote, which is expected to be rubber stamped by member states in the coming weeks, ends a long effort to revise EU tobacco rules which saw the resignation of former health commissioner John Dalli, unprecedented lobbying by tobacco companies and citizens demonstrations by so called ‘vapers’ users of electronic cigarettes.

The new legislation will require large pictorial warnings with unpleasant images covering 65% of cigarette packs. Characterising flavours including menthol will be banned.

In recent months the most controversial aspect of the revision was its effort to standardise EU regulation of new electronic cigarettes. In October members of the parliament adopted a negotiating position that called for e cigarettes to be regulated for general sale.

National governments, concerned about the unknown long term health effects, wanted them to be regulated as medicines. Member states also wanted to ban refillable cartridges over concerns about safety and nicotine content. These elements were included in the proposal put forward by the European Commission in 2012.

But MEPs, under intense pressure from e cigarette manufacturers and users who said such restrictions would kill off a valuable tool to quit smoking, refused to allow such a ban.

The compromise agreed with national governments in December, backed by MEPs today, will see e cigarettes regulated for general sale at EU level, but member states would be allowed to regulate them as medicines if they so choose. Refillable cartridges will not be banned. However member states can ban specific types of cartridges, if the ban can be justified by safety concerns.

If three member states adopt a ban on a specific cartridge, the European Commission can unilaterally impose an EU level ban, without approval by Parliament or member states. Cartridge size will be capped at 2ml.
E cigarettes will be limited to a maximum permitted nicotine concentration level of 20mg/ml, equivalent to roughly one pack of regular cigarettes.

Though the e cigarette issue became the most contested part of the legislation in its final months, the revision of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive will mean big changes for traditional cigarettes as well.

All characterising flavours will be banned, though the menthol flavour will be given a four year derogation to 2020. Manufacturers and importers must submit reports on the use of these additives within 18 months.

Pictorial health warnings must cover 65% of both the front and back of cigarette packs. In order to address the concerns raised by manufacturers about increased ease of counterfeiting using the labels, the law will set up an EU wide tracking and tracing system to combat illicit trade of tobacco products.

Member states may ban cross border distance sales of tobacco products, for example through online purchasing. The Commission proposal to ban slim cigarettes was rejected. But perfumed ‘lipstick’ cigarettes will be banned.

Health campaign groups said they were broadly pleased with today’s result. «Today marks a genuine turning point for European tobacco control and a huge stride towards a tobacco free Europe,» said Archie Turnbull, president of the Smoke Free Partnership.» This vote will help protect young people and children across Europe, saving many lives and helping prevent young Europeans from starting to smoke.»

The Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers said the measures adopted today are «disproportionate» and are «more likely to lead to a rise in profits for criminal gangs, who sell much cheaper, unregulated products.»

«We expect diligence to be taken in allowing realistic transition
periods for member states and the industry,» said Michiel Reerink, the group’s chairman. «Due to the complexity of the numerous measures, tobacco companies, packaging manufacturers, machinery suppliers, wholesalers and retailers must imperatively be given sufficient time to comply with the Directive.