Meps vote for menthol cigarettes and packs of 10 to be outlawed

Menthol cigarettes will be banned (Picture Getty)

Menthol cigarettes, ten packs and small rolling tobacco pouches are to be outlawed.

Bigger health warnings on packets and a ban on descriptions such as light , mild and low tar will also be introduced.

There will also be new limits on advertising for electronic cigarettes although they will not be regulated as medicines.

The clampdown was agreed by MEPs today and should be written into law next year.

The decision was welcomed by anti smoking campaigners who say it will save thousands of lives.

But Angela Harbutt, head of campaigns at pro smoking group Forest, said This is prohibition. Menthols have been smoked by adults for decades who will now turn to the black market costing the treasury millions and putting smokers at risk.

Anti smoking campaigners have welcomed the news (Picture Getty)

Every year 700,000 people in Europe die of smoking related disease. The vote clears the way for a European Union directive to be finalised next year. It is likely to take another two years to be imposed in the 28 member countries.

It will lead to a ban on menthol cigarettes by 2022 and mean that 65 per cent of each cigarette pack has to be covered in gory images such as the inside of a cancer riddled lung.

Menthol cigarettes have been targeted because studies show they appeal to younger smokers.

The decision on e cigarettes was widely welcomed as an attempt to ensure they remain readily available to those trying to quit.

Expert Prof Peter Hajek said Current research indicates that the risks to health from using e cigarettes are minimal.

But UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall said This EU tobacco directive defies logic, even the EU s twisted logic. Banning packs of ten will not stop people smoking, it will just make them buy more cigarettes and make them poorer.

Blog Banning packs of ten and menthol cigarettes will only lead to people smoking more

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Burning issues: rip cemeteries or rip cigarettes, which option is the eu going to take? — european public health alliance

In all countries where data is available, cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths. In the EU25, at least 1,000 people, including children and older people, are estimated to be killed each year. This estimate is conservative, and do not take account of the economic costs of fires. In the US, property losses from smoking material fires total hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Innocent lives, injuries and destruction of property could be prevented through the introduction of a fire safety standard for cigarettes cigarettes would extinguish themselves in most cases when not puffed. These cigarettes are commonly called RIP Cigarettes (Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarettes).

Despite conclusive evidence from New York State which introduced legislation in 2004 that lives have been saved, the tobacco industry is currently arguing against RIP cigarettes because of concerns that they would be sued if fires occurred. This, in the light of the fact that they had the technology for producing «RIP» cigarettes more than 20 years ago.

As more and more governments are pushing the European Union to introduce new standards, enforcing RIP cigarettes across the EU, the European RIP Alliance wants to hasten the trend.

Across Europe, many organisations have already expressed an interest in participating in a European campaign to regulate list of these organisations is growing every day.

«Last year, the Swedish Minister of Health, Morgan Johansson said that in five years’ time, a majority of EU countries would have smoke free laws. We hope it can happen even sooner,» says Fiona Godfrey, EU Policy Advisor, European Respiratory Society speaking on behalf of the Smoke Free Partnership.

Indeed, In view of the fact that it is technologically and economically feasible for cigarettes to meet fire safety standards, tobacco manufacturers should be required to produce and market only reduced ignition propensity cigarettes in the EU. Tobacco manufacturers should use the same standard as in New York and Canada (ASTM International) E2187 02b.

To join the European RIP Alliance

If you are interested in joining the European RIP Alliance, please contact

Florence Berteletti Kemp,

EPHA Vice President & Advocacy Officer, Smoke Free Partnership, ERS Brussels Office,

39/41 Rue d’Arlon, 1000 Brussels

E mail
Tel 32 2 238 53 63
Fax 32 2 238 53 61
GSM 32 496 12 43 02


EPHA related section on tobacco