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Vote on new EU tobacco laws put on ice

Vote on new EU tobacco laws put on ice
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This month’s crucial European Parliament vote on tougher tobacco laws has been delayed.

German and British MEPs pushed for it to be put back, saying they had not had enough time to study the detail of the proposals.

Revisions to the EU Tobacco Products Directive require three quarters of the front and back of cigarette packets to be covered with graphic images.

The legislation also states that 50 percent of the sides feature written health warnings.

Slim cigarettes are also banned under the new laws, as is the promotion of flavours, such as menthol.

E-cigarettes also face regulation, with them being classified as ‘medicinal.’ But makers say they have the potential to save lives and should not be restricted.

The revisions have already passed through the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

“The Environment Committee text has been fast tracked to us. We’ve not had enough time to talk about it,” said Herbert Reul, a German MEP.

Smoking kills around 700-thousand Europeans every year.

The aim of the revised directive is to prevent young people from lighting up and to encourage millions of smokers to quit.

But anti-smoking campaigners are now worried that it will not make it through the current parliament.

“In many European papers, what the journalists are saying is that they have seen some documents which are the strategy of the tobacco industry. And what these documents have revealed is that the number one strategy is to delay the process,” said Florence Berteletti, from the Smoke Free Partnership.

“Why? Because they understand the legislative process and they have no arguments.”

It is unclear at this stage when the vote on the revisions will take place.

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