EU tables new rules to deter smokers

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 21 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8660
  1. Rory Watson
  1. 1Brussels

All cigarette packets sold in the European Union will have to carry larger and clearer health warnings, under draft legislation presented by the European Commission on 19 December.1 The commission also proposes a ban on the use of strong flavourings such as vanilla, strawberry, and menthol to mask the taste of tobacco.

The wide ranging proposals look to strengthen existing pan-European rules on tobacco dating back to 2001 and aim, by lessening the glamour associated with smoking, to prevent young people from taking up the habit.

Presenting the planned new restrictions, Tonio Borg, the EU health commissioner, said, “The figures speak for themselves. Tobacco kills half of its users and is highly addictive. With 70% of smokers starting before the age of 18, the ambition of today’s …

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