BRUSSELS — European lawmakers approved sweeping new regulations governing the multibillion-dollar tobacco market on Tuesday, including bigger drastic health warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on menthol and other flavorings to further curb smoking. They stopped short, however, of tough limits on electronic cigarettes.
The European Parliament vote in Strasbourg came after months of bitter debate and an unusually strong lobbying campaign by the tobacco industry, which decries the regulations as disproportionate and limiting consumer freedom. The Parliament dismissed many of the industry’s arguments, agreeing on a slightly watered-down version of the proposed legislation.
The lawmakers voted to impose warning labels – with the inclusion of gruesome pictorials, for example showing cancer-infested lungs – covering 65 percent of cigarette packs and to be shown above the brand logo. Current warning labels cover only 30-40 percent of packages.