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Ministers To Make Tobacco Products Less Attractive To Youth

By Expert Author: Bernard Fowler

A new law proposed by the Council of Ministers is going to make tobacco products less attractive to youth have been approved by Public Health Committee MEPs.The new legislation is going to extend the EU Tobacco Directive and will demand all packs to have a health warning covering 65% of their package. E-cigarettes would be regulated like medicinal products, in case it would be proved they help to quit.

"We know that it is kids, not adults, who start smoking. That is why despite the downward trend in adult smoker numbers in most member states, WHO numbers demonstrate worrying upward trends in young smoker numbers in some member states. We need to prevent tobacco companies from attracting young people with their products," said rapporteur socialist MEP Linda McAvan.

A first reading agreement, reached with the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of Ministers on 16 December 2013 and confirmed by the permanent committee of member states' representatives 2 days later, was presented in committee by 49 votes to 21 with 3 abstentions.The agreed text will be debated and put to a plenary vote in February or in March.

At the moment legislation demands that health warnings cover at least 30% of the area of the front of the pack and 40% of the back. The proposed text would increase this to 65%, front and back and would demand these warnings to be in picture form. Packs of fewer than 20 cigarettes would be prohibited.

As proposed by MEPs, e-cigarettes would be controlled as medicinal products, in case they are marketed as a quit aid, or alternatively as tobacco products. Thus they should not contain nicotine in a concentration of more than 20 mg/ml. Refillable cartridges would be allowed, and there would be no ban on flavourings at EU level.

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