New EU Tobacco Directive to restrict packaging

All tobacco products will have to carry a 65% picture health warning on the front and back of the pack and an additional 50% text warning on the pack sides



3 March 2014

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The European Parliament has voted for a new Tobacco Directive which will restrict the packaging of tobacco products across all EU Member States.

The main goal of the new directive is to make tobacco products less attractive to young people.

Under the new legislation, every tobacco product sold in the European Union must have a 65% picture health warning on the front and back of the pack and an additional 50% text warning on the side of tobacco packs. So-called ‘lip-stick’ or slims packs will be banned.

Health warnings on e-cigarette packs will also be mandatory, as will instructions for their use, information on addictiveness and toxicity, a list of all substances contained in the product and information on the product’s nicotine content. No promotional elements will be allowed on packs.

The directive also states flavourings in cigarettes and roll your own (RYO) tobacco must not be used in quantities that give the product a distinguishable (‘characterising’) flavour other than tobacco. The directive will ban cigarettes and RYO tobacco with any such characterising flavour.

Menthol is considered a characterising flavour and will be banned after a phase-out period of four years.

In a press statement, tobacco manufacturer John Player said Ireland can implement the Directive into national law at any time from April 2014 but must allow tobacco companies adequate time to comply with the new laws.

The company added that earlier EU proposals for plain packaging were dropped after doubts were expressed about the legal basis for such action.

"These new proposals will not apply to the nearly one in four of tobacco products smoked in Ireland which are not bought in an Irish shop."

British American Tobacco (BAT) said it "supports sensible, balanced regulations that take into account all people it will impact before being decided on and implemented. The reality is that many parts of the TPD remain disproportionate and may result in unintended consequences versus improving public health."



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