Following the introduction of brandless cigarette packaging in Australia, the EU is proposing its own tough new rules to help cut consumption.
Commissioners want a total ban on slim cigarettes and flavoured varieties like menthol.
They will also follow the Australian example by enforcing much larger health warnings. Photos and written notices will cover three quarters of the packet.
“Our aim, if possible, is to decrease the number of smokers in the EU – which at current levels is about 27 percent – by two percent in the next five years,” said Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy.
Around 700,000 people die prematurely every year as a result of cigarette smoking in Europe although the number of smokers has fallen dramatically in recent years.
The proposals stop short of forcing all cigarettes to be sold in completely plain packs, while leaving it open to individual European nations to take further measures if they wish.
The plan will be presented to member states next year and if agreed will be implemented in 2015.