Secondly, new products, such as electronic cigarettes and strongly flavoured tobacco products have emerged on the market.

Thirdly, there have been developments at international level over the past decade, to which EU Member States have responded with different regulatory approaches. The EU and all Member States are parties to the legally binding WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which entered into force in February 2005.

One of the most compelling reasons to strengthen the rules on tobacco products is the negative impact of tobacco consumption on people’s health. Tobacco use is responsible for an estimated 700 000 avoidable deaths in the EU every year. The vast majority of smokers start when they are very young 70% before their 18th birthday and 94% before the age of 25. The new Directive aims to make tobacco products and tobacco consumption less attractive in the EU, in particular for young people.

What will future cigarette packs look like?

Future packs will feature mandatory picture and text health warnings covering 65% of the front and the back of cigarette packs to be placed on the top edge. 50% of the sides of packs will also be covered with health warnings (e.g. “smoking kills quit now” “tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer”), replacing the current printing of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide (TNCO) levels.

Minimum dimensions for the health warnings will ensure visibility and slim ‘lipstick’ style cigarette packs, which are often targeted to young women, will no longer be allowed.

In order to ensure the visibility of health warnings, cigarette packs will be required to have a cuboid shape and each pack will contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes.

No promotional or misleading features or elements will be allowed on packs. This includes, for example, references to lifestyle benefits, to taste or flavourings or their absence (e.g. “free of additives”), special offers or suggestions that a particular product is less harmful than another.

Similar rules will apply to roll your own tobacco (RYO) packs, which will also have to carry 65% combined health warnings on the front and back as well as the additional text warnings. RYO products can have a cuboid or cylindric shape, or be in the form of a pouch, and each pack will contain a minimum of 30g of tobacco.

How about the labelling of less common tobacco products?

Whereas the EU Directive covers all tobacco products, Member States have some discretion when it comes to labelling rules for products not currently used in significant quantities such as pipe tobacco, cigars, cigarillos and smokeless products.

While Member States may choose to exempt these products from stringent labelling rules e.g. combined picture and text health warnings, they will be obliged to ensure that these products carry a general warning and an additional text warning. Smokeless tobacco products will have to display health warnings on the two largest surfaces of the pack. As in the former Directive, specific rules apply for the placement and size of all warnings.

Can Member States introduce plain packaging?

While the new rules mean that health warnings will cover a substantial part of the total surface of cigarette packages, a certain space will remain available for branding. The new Directive specifically allows Member States to introduce further measures relating to standardisation of packaging or plain packaging where they are justified on grounds of public health, are proportionate and do not lead to hidden barriers to trade between Member States.

Will flavourings be banned? How about additives, etc.?

Flavourings in cigarettes and RYO tobacco must not be used in quantities that give the product a distinguishable (‘characterising’) flavour other than tobacco. The Directive prohibits cigarettes and RYO tobacco with any such characterising flavour. Member States and the Commission may consult an independent European advisory panel before taking decisions in this regard. Menthol is considered a characterising flavour and will be banned after a phase out period of four years a period which applies to all products with more than a 3% market share in the EU.

Other tobacco products, such as cigars, cigarillos and smokeless products are exempted from the ban on characterising flavours. This exemption will be removed if there is a substantial change in circumstances (in terms of sales volumes or prevalence levels among young people). Tobacco for oral use (Snus) is exempted from this ban, as well as from certain other provisions regulating ingredients.

Additives necessary for the manufacture of tobacco products, including sugar lost during the curing process, can continue to be used. The Directive does not discriminate between tobacco varieties such as Virginia, Burley or Oriental tobacco.

What information will makers of tobacco products have to provide?

Mandatory reporting on ingredients is foreseen for all tobacco products through a standardised electronic format. Enhanced reporting obligations will be in place for certain frequently used substances found in cigarettes and RYO tobacco (priority list). This will enable regulators to gain more information on the ingredients contained in tobacco products and their effects on health and addiction.

As in the previous Directive, there will be mandatory reporting of emissions of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide for cigarettes, as well as other emissions where such information is available. Member States may also require manufacturers to carry out further studies on the effect of additives on health.

Will electronic cigarettes still be available to buy/smoke?

Yes. However new rules will be put in place so that the product’s safety and quality can be assured. The new rules are designed to ensure equal treatment across the EU for nicotine containing e cigarettes (products that do not contain nicotine are not covered by the Directive).

E cigarettes can be disposable (i.e. single use), rechargeable (with a single use cartridge) or refillable (by means of a refill container).

Why are new rules needed for e cigarettes?

E cigarettes are a relatively new product category and their

Packets of ten cigarettes and menthol flavours banned under new eu rules –

Bbc – advice – cigarettes / tobacco

The legislation will take effect in 2016 following what is expected to be a
rubber stamp approval procedure by EU governments next month.

Pro smoking groups have criticised a “nanny state mentality”, but
cancer charities have backed the measures.

The new rules to be introduced across the European Union include

picture warnings must cover 65% of the front and back of every packet of
cigarettes, with additional warnings on the top of the pack

a ban on “lipstick style” packs aimed at women all packs
must have at least 20 cigarettes to leave room for health warnings

roll your own tobacco packs to have similar picture warnings

a ban on promotional elements, such saying “this product is free
of additives” or is less harmful than other brands

a ban on flavoured cigarettes, such as menthol, fruit and vanilla

a maximum nicotine concentration level for e cigarettes.

EU wide tracking of cigarettes to combat illegal trade

Ministers are expected to endorse the rules in March, to come into force in
May 2014. Member states will have two years to introduce the legislation.

The European Commission says the new rules will “deter young people from
experimenting with, and becoming addicted to, tobacco” and should lead
to a 2% drop in the amount smoked over the next five years.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said “Today is a great day for EU
health policy.

Today marks a genuine turning point for European tobacco control

“The new rules will help to reduce the number of people who start smoking
in the EU.

“These measures put an end to products which entice children and
teenagers into starting to smoke in the European Union.”

However, the director of the pro smoking campaign group Forest, Simon Clark
said banning menthol cigarettes was a ban on consumer choice that “will
do little” to deter children from smoking.

He also questioned the need for plain packaging legislation to remove any
branding from packs, which is being considered in some EU countries,
including the UK.