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Belgium introduces 'shock' anti-smoking measure

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Belgium introduces 'shock' anti-smoking measure

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Belgium’s become the first EU country to require cigarette makers to show anti-tobacco images on their packets. It takes a campaign to highlight the dangers of smoking a step further. Packets already carry written messages about the health risk. In all there are 42 images. They are being gradually introduced, starting with milder pictures showing a baby in an incubator and leading to the most shocking, such as pictures of tumours and cancers. The move follows a recommendation from the European Commission in 2004 as part of an anti-smoking initiative. The EU is taking its lead from Canada and other countries where the measure has already been tried. Belgian tobacconists have until June next year to sell their old stock. More than half a million people die each year in the EU through smoking.