November 22, 2014
BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Parliament has voted in favor of tough new anti-smoking rules governing the multibillion-dollar tobacco market including the introduction of mandatory picture and text health warnings covering about two-thirds of cigarette packs.
Lawmakers on Wednesday voted for the larger warning labels - with the inclusion of gruesome pictorials, for example showing cancer-infested lungs - plus a ban on most flavored tobacco products and tighter regulation of e-cigarettes.
Health advocates welcome the legislation as a milestone in helping to reduce the number of smokers in the 28-nation bloc, while the tobacco industry condemns it as a burdensome regulation stymieing a legal industry that pays lots of taxes.
The legislation will take effect in 2016 following what is expected to be a rubberstamp approval procedure by EU governments next month.