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FACTBOX-Main elements of deal on EU tobacco controls

Source: Reuters - Wed, 18 Dec 2013 09:48 AM
Author: Reuters
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BRUSSELS, Dec 18 (Reuters) - European Union diplomats on Wednesday approved a deal to strengthen the bloc's anti-tobacco legislation from 2016, placing new restrictions on how products are made and sold.

Agreement was struck after negotiators resolved a dispute over how to regulate the fast-growing market for electronic cigarettes, which some analysts predict will eclipse the $700 billion a year regular cigarette market in the next decade.

Below is a summary of the main elements in the deal:

HEALTH WARNINGS

* Graphic picture and text warnings will have to cover 65 percent of the front and back of packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products for smoking. Current EU law demands that written health warnings cover 30 percent of a pack's front and 40 percent of the back, but pictures are not obligatory.

* Text warnings will include phrases such as "Smoking kills - quit now" and "Tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer".

* Individual governments will be free to go beyond the minimum requirements and impose a ban on all branding, provided such "plain packaging" rules are justified on public health grounds and notified to the European Commission.

FLAVOURING BAN

* Cigarettes and rolling tobacco containing characterising flavours such as fruit or vanilla will be banned from 2016.

* A ban on menthol flavourings will apply from 2020.

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES

* E-cigarettes will be classed as consumer products without the need for prior approval provided they meet a maximum nicotine concentration of 20 milligrams per millilitre (mg/ml). Products containing higher concentrations will be regulated as medicines.

* Refill cartridges for reusable e-cigarettes must contain no more than 10 ml of nicotine-laced liquid, up to the maximum 20 mg/ml concentration. Non-refillable products can contain no more than 2 millilitre of liquid.

* The Commission will publish a study on the potential health risks of refillable e-cigarettes by 2016. If three or more EU countries ban refillable e-cigarettes on health grounds, the Commission will be free to impose an EU-wide ban.

OTHER RESTRICTIONS

* A ban on misleading terms on cigarettes and other smoking products, such as "organic" or "natural".

* Governments can decide individually to ban the online sale of tobacco products across borders. (Reporting by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Luke Baker)

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