If approved, the new regulation will require graphic visual and written warnings take up 75 percent of the surface of all cigarette packets, leaving only 25 percent or less for the brand. Current EU legislation says health warnings on the front of packs must cover at least 30 percent.

“The figures speak for themselves: tobacco kills half of its users and is highly addictive,” Health Commissioner Tonio Borg, said in a statement setting out the plans which would also ban slim cigarettes and flavourings such as menthol.

“Consumers must not be cheated. Tobacco products should look and taste like tobacco products, and this proposal ensures that attractive packaging and flavourings are not used as a marketing strategy,” Borg said.

While the proposals stop short of the completely plain packaging imposed in Australia earlier this month, EU governments will be free to ban all branding if justified on public health grounds. Britain and France are among the countries considering the idea.

The industry’s bid to weaken the plans is expected to intensify as EU governments and lawmakers begin the process of finalizing the rules, which could take up to two years and might end with an even tougher final version.

Source: Reuters Health


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