New combined health warnings on packages of tobacco products, in particular cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, that will be in use across the European Union from May 2016 were approved by the European Commission on October 9.
The new health warnings will include a colour photograph, a text warning on the harmful effects of smoking, and smoking cessation information. These should collectively cover 65 per cent of the front and back of packages, in accordance with a 2014 EU directive.
The implementing decision, to use the EU’s technical term, adopted on October 9 provides for technical specifications for the layout, design and shape of the combined health warnings taking into account different packet shapes.
The 2014 directive has several provisions, including prohibiting cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours.
It requires the tobacco industry to submit detailed reports to the EU countries on the ingredients used in tobacco products, in particular cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco.
The directive requires that health warnings appear on packages of tobacco and related products, covering 65 per cent of the front and back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packages.
It sets minimum dimensions for warnings and eliminates small packages for certain tobacco products, bans all promotional and misleading elements on tobacco products, introduces EU-wide tracking and tracing to combat illicit trade of tobacco products, allows EU member states to prohibit internet sales of tobacco and related products, sets out safety and quality requirements for consumer electronic cigarettes, and obliges manufacturers to notify novel tobacco products before placing them on the EU market.
(Mock-up of what cigarette packets will look like in the EU from May 2016: European Commission)