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  • EPSCOEmployment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)

Making tobacco products less attractive, especially to young people: Council adopts revised EU tobacco directive

  • Photo: © European Parliament

    © European Parliament

The Council approved yesterday (14.3.2014) a revised EU tobacco directive that it is expected to enter into force in May, 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Member states will then have two years to transpose the directive into their national laws, and will have to apply the new rules from the end of this period. 
The main objective of the directive's revision was to make tobacco products less attractive, especially to young people, by strengthening the rules on how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented and sold. 
The new directive includes the following key measures: 
– A ban on the placing on the market of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours such as fruit flavours, menthol or vanilla two years after the entry into force of the directive. 
- Combined health warnings consisting of a text warning and a corresponding colour picture will have to cover 65 % of the front and the back of packages of tobacco products for smoking. In addition, each packet of smoking tobacco must carry a general warning (such as "Smoking kills - quit now") and the information message: "Tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer". 
– A ban on any misleading labelling (such as "natural" or "organic") and on small size "lipstick type" packages. 
– Introduction of a tracking and tracing system for tobacco products, together with safety features in order to strengthen the fight against illicit trade and falsified products.