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EU Lights Fire Under New Tobacco Labels Proposal

Commission Releases Draft For New Labels

Product safety labels have been a priority for many governments, especially on cigarettes. Recently, U.S. lawmakers and the Big Tobacco lobby have waged a back-and-forth dispute about graphic labeling, while Australia has already approved a measure requiring such graphic warning labels on packages.

Now, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has moved to tackle the issue by releasing a draft proposal that would severely limit the space marketers can use on cigarette packages.

Warning Labels On 75 Percent Of Package
The proposed rules released by the EU would call for 75 percent of the tobacco packaging to be reserved for combined text and pictorial health warning labels. Currently, only 10 member states of the 27-country administrative bloc require cigarette labels to have graphic images aimed at deterring tobacco use.

The EU said the new labeling would replace inaccurate practices by tobacco companies on packaging in relation to tar and nicotine.

The proposal would also ban the inclusion of promotional elements in packaging, the sale of "slims" - cigarettes almost exclusively marketed toward women - and tobacco flavorings like menthol.