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European Parliament backs tougher tobacco rules

European Parliament backs tougher tobacco rules
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MEPs have backed stricter EU rules on tobacco products.

Cigarettes containing flavours such as vanilla or menthol will be banned from 2020.

The vote comes after a fierce lobbying campaign from the tobacco industry.

“Seven hundred thousand Europeans die prematurely because of cigarette and tobacco use,” said Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter.

“That’s four times more than suicide, drugs, workplace accidents and traffic accidents combined with AIDS,” he added.

Cigarette packs will now have to carry graphic pictorial warnings that cover 65 percent of the box.

“The effect will be that tobacco products will looks like tobacco products, not like cosmetics,” EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg told euronews.

Electronic cigarettes will be regulated for general sale at the EU level, but member states can decide if they want to classify them as ‘medicines’ or tobacco products.

The tobacco industry said the new rules will lead to job losses, encourage smuggling and cut government tax revenues.