The European Parliament has formally approved the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD) in a final nail in the coffin for 10 packs and menthol cigarettes.
The new Directive should enter into force this May and most of the new rules, including a ban on packs of less than 20 cigarettes and 30g of rolling tobacco, should apply by the first half of 2016.
Capsule cigarettes and other flavoured tobacco products will also be banned from 2016, but a further phase-out period of four years will apply to menthol cigarettes.
The revision is expected to lead to a 2% drop in consumption of tobacco over a period of five years - equivalent to 2.4 million fewer smokers in the EU.
The revised EUTPD will also require:
- Picture and text health warnings to be placed at the top of cigarette packs and cover 65% of the front and back, and 50% of the sides
- Minimum dimensions for cigarette packs – leading to the end of slim ‘lipstick’-style cigarette packs
- No promotional elements on packs. This includes references to taste or flavourings or their absence (additive free)
- Similar rules will apply to roll-your-own tobacco (RYO) packs, which will also have to carry 65% combined health warnings on the front and back as well as the additional text warnings. RYO products can have a cuboid or cylindric shape, or be in the form of a pouch, and each pack will contain a minimum of 30g of tobacco
- The new Directive also specifically allows Member States to introduce further measures relating to standardisation of packaging – or plain packaging – where they are justified on grounds of public health, are proportionate and do not lead to hidden barriers to trade between Member States
- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) will have to meet maximum nicotine concentration levels and maximum volumes for cartridges, tanks and containers of nicotine liquids. These will have to be child and tamper-proof and protected against leakage. Only ingredients of high purity may be used in the nicotine-containing liquid
- Health warnings on e-cig packs will be mandatory, as will instructions for their use and information on addictiveness, ingredients and nicotine content. No promotional elements will be allowed on packs
- E-cig manufacturers will also be required to notify Member States before placing new products on the market, and report their sales volumes types of users and trends annually
- The new Directive also introduces an EU-wide tracking and tracing system for the legal supply chain and visible and invisible security features (e.g. holograms) to help authorities and consumers detect illicit products