Eu lawmakers back tougher anti-smoking rules — abc news

The European Parliament on Wednesday voted for tougher anti smoking rules that will make health warnings on cigarette packs larger and include mandatory pictures of rotting teeth or cancer infested lungs.

Gruesome warning photos can already be found on cigarette packs in some countries, but they will have to be bigger and used across all the 28 EU countries from 2016, according to the legislation.

The warnings will occupy 65 percent of the front and the back of cigarette packages plus 50 percent of its sides, including text health warnings like «smoking kills quit now.» Current warning labels only cover 30 40 percent of the packages.

The legislation also introduces tighter regulation of e cigarettes, advertisement rules and a ban on most flavored tobacco products. Health experts have argued cigarettes that have vanilla or chocolate flavors, for example, lure young people to start smoking by disguising the taste of tobacco.

Menthol flavored cigarettes are granted an extension but will be banned by 2020, according to the new law.

Officials and health advocates welcome the changes as a milestone in helping to reduce the number of smokers in the 28 nation bloc, while the tobacco industry condemns it as a burdensome regulation on an industry that pays lots of taxes.

The legislation still requires approval by EU governments next month, which it is widely expected to receive.

Smoking bans in public, limits on tobacco firms’ advertising, and other measures over the past decade have seen the number of smokers fall from an estimated 40 percent of the EU’s 500 million citizens to 28 percent now. Still, treatment of smoke related diseases costs about 25 billion euros ($34 billion) a year, and the bloc estimates there are around 700,000 smoking related deaths annually across its 28 countries.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said the adoption of the tobacco legislation is «a testament to the political will to put the health of our citizens first.»

Philip Morris International Inc., which owns several brands such as Marlboro, said the legislation will make the EU economy less competitive and fuel the black market tobacco sales.

«This will be a blow to the hundreds of thousands of people working in the legal industry and member state governments now faced with filling budget gaps,» said Drago Azinovic, the firm’s top European executive.

Associated Press Tobacco Writer Michael Felberbaum in Richmond, Virginia contributed reporting.

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Europa — press releases — press release — organized by the european anti-fraud office (olaf), the annual task group cigarettes meeting for 2000 in visby, sweden

DOC/00/29

Press Release OLAF/9/2000 10.11.2000

ORGANIZED BY THE EUROPEAN ANTI FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF), THE ANNUAL TASK GROUP CIGARETTES MEETING FOR 2000 IN VISBY, SWEDEN

The phenomenon of cigarette smuggling into the EU is strongly linked to actions by organised criminal rings. Its importance is demonstrated by the quantity of seizures of contraband cigarettes made by the Member States. The annual Task Group Cigarettes meeting, organized by the European Anti Fraud Office, will be held in Visby, Sweden from 9 to 11 November 2000. The purpose to discuss operational measures undertaken in the last year in the fight against cigarette smuggling into the EU and to formulate plans for initiatives/actions for the coming year.

The European Anti Fraud Office estimates that losses to the Community in own resources and to Members States’ national revenues run to several billion Euro per year.

In response to the growing problem of cigarette smuggling into the European Union, the European Commission created a «Task Group Cigarettes» in late 1994.

However, cigarette smuggling into the European Union is still a major problem and, in 1999 the authorities in the Member States seized approximately 570,000 master cases of cigarettes which were in the process of being illegally introduced into the EU (1 master case 10,000 cigarettes 1 container of cigarettes 1.000 master cases of cigarettes 10.000.000 cigarettes around 1.000.000 EURO in Custom duties, VAT and excise. 25% of the above mentioned 1.000.000 EURO are destined for the Community budget like own resources).

The Task Group Cigarettes comprises agents in the European Anti Fraud Office and agents from the relevant anti fraud services in the Member States.

Since 1995, an annual Task Group Cigarettes meeting has been held at different locations in the European Union.

This year the annual Task Group Cigarettes meeting will be held in Visby, Sweden from 9 to 11 November 2000. Participants at this meeting will include agents from the Task Group Cigarettes from the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF) and experts in the fight against cigarette smuggling from the relevant services in the Member States.

The purpose of this year’s meeting is to discuss operational measures undertaken in the last year in the fight against cigarette smuggling into the EU and to formulate plans for initiatives/actions for the coming year.

Mr Alessandro Buttic ,

Spokesman for the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF)

Tel 32 (0)2 29.65425 Fax 32 (0)2 2963731


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