Europe agrees to toughen up on cigarette warnings

Politicians in Brussels have reached agreement on the labelling of
cigarettes across the European Union, in a move that has been welcomed by the
British Government.

The agreement will mean larger health warnings, a ban on misleading labels
and lower tar levels for all cigarettes produced in the EU, the Department of
Health said.

A draft text on tobacco labelling was agreed by EU ministers in February,
strengthening health warnings on tobacco products to include references about
the dangers of passive smoking, ageing of the skin and impotence. Misleading
labelling suggesting some cigarettes might be safer than others will also be

Maximum tar yields will be cut from 12mg to 10mg per cigarette and the
highest yields are introduced for nicotine and carbon monoxide of 1mg and 10mg
per cigarette, respectively.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn said the directive was good news for Britain,
where the Government has been implementing a public health drive to cut the
number of deaths from smoking, which currently stands at120,000 deaths a year
from smoking.

The Government believes the measures in the EU directive should be applied
on a worldwide basis.

Under the directive, tobacco manufacturers will have to submit a list of all
ingredients contained in tobacco products to their governments, who will make
the information available to consumers.

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