European Union diplomats approved new anti-tobacco legislation on Wednesday placing new restrictions on how products are made and sold.
Graphic picture and text warnings will have to cover 65 percent of the front and back of packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products for smoking. Current EU law demands that written health warnings cover 30 percent of a pack’s front and 40 percent of the back, but pictures are not obligatory.
Text warnings will include phrases such as “Smoking kills – quit now” and “Tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer”.
Individual governments will be free to go beyond the minimum requirements and impose a ban on all branding, provided such “plain packaging” rules are justified on public health grounds and notified to the European Commission.
Cigarettes and rolling tobacco containing characterising flavours such as fruit or vanilla will be banned from 2016.
A ban on menthol flavourings will apply from 2020.
E-cigarettes will be cl