Bulgarian MPs pass bill introducing graphic tobacco packaging

Bulgarian Parliament passed at second reading on March 24 the amendments to the Tobacco Act, which envision the introduction of graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging and a ban on flavourings in tobacco products.

The amendments implement the European Union directive 2014/40/EU, adopted in April 2014, and would go into force on May 20 2016, but the amended law also envisions a one-year transition period during which tobacco products made under the current regulatory framework can be sold, meaning that the full effect of the new regulations is delayed to May 2017.

Tobacco products’ packaging in Bulgaria already carries text warnings, but the latest EU regulations mandate an increase in the surface of packaging covered by the warning, as well as the introduction of colour photographs illustrating the impact of smoking on the human body.

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(Former EU health commissioner Tonio Borg shows a sample of a combined text and graphic warning on a cigarette package in December 2012. Photo: Roge Thierry/EC Audiovisual Service)