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U-talk: The truth behind cigarette health warnings

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U-talk: The truth behind cigarette health warnings


This edition of U-talk looks at the health warnings that appear on the sides of cigarette packets.

Our question about that comes from Lewis in the British capital London:

“I’ve got a question I’d like to ask the EU institutions: I’d like to know why they’re spending so much money putting pictures on packets of cigarettes to make people not want to smoke? Because I just think it’s ridiculous, if people want to smoke they’ll smoke.”

The reply from Frédéric Vincent, EU spokesperson for Health and Consumers:

“Firstly it costs European taxpayers nothing to put pictures on cigarette packets. A European directive states that on each cigarette packet sold in the EU 40 percent must be devoted to health warnings for the consumer.

“The individual member state then decides how to deliver the warning, via picture or text. Currently in the EU there are seven states that use a picture, it is not mandatory, but possible to do under EU law.

“Does it discourage smoking? I hope so! Each year there are 650,000 tobacco related deaths in the EU, the leading cause of preventable death in the union. Recently the US introduced pictures on their packets, so it is beginning to spread and we think it is helpful.”

If you want to ask a question, please look for how to do that on our website :

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