EU Looks to Tighten Anti-Smoking Policy

Cigarette packaging and advertising could soon become still further restricted across the European Union, with the bloc's health commissioner saying on Monday (31 May) that he is currently working on a revision of EU tobacco rules.

"I believe the time has come to strengthen our efforts to fight tobacco and its consequences on people's health," announced commissioner John Dalli on World No Tobacco Day. "With this in mind, the commission will soon launch a public consultation on the possible revision of the Tobacco Products Directive."

While offering no specific details, he told a conference on anti-smoking in the European Parliament that hopes to make the habit appear "less attractive."

Some clues as to what the commission may be considering were suggested by the anti-smoking activist hosts of the conference, the Smoke Free Partnership, who want to see the full-colour graphic warnings against smoking, using images of cancer-ridden throats and blackened lungs, right across the EU.

Currently only six EU nations have introduced the move: Belgium, the UK, Romania, Latvia, Malta (from next year) and France (from 2012).

They would also like to see the pictures take up as much as 80 percent of a packet, warning that "seductive" packaging is one of the tobacco industry's most successful parts of its marketing, with, for example, slim, pastel boxes targetting women.

Florence Berteletti, director of the Smoke-Free Partnership, told the parliament that the review should produce such images and standardised packets across all 27 member states.

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