Dearne Euro MP is backing new anti tobbaco laws aimed at young children and the regulation of E-cigarettes.
Wath based MEP Linda McAvan is backing a European parliament deal on tobacco regulation, with agreement on increased picture warnings, regulation of e-cigarettes and a ban on products targeted at children.
Plain packaging of tobacco products is a step closer after national governments agreed a range of measures with the European Parliament as part of the ‘Tobacco Products Directive.’
Sixty five per cent of tobacco packs will be covered by graphic warnings, paving the way for member states to go the extra step and regulate 100% of the pack. There will be an immediate ban on flavourings in cigarettes such as chocolate and Strawberry (with a menthol ban phased in from 2020) and lipstick and perfume type packaging will be banned.
E-cigarettes will be regulated, having to meet certain quality and safety standards, having set maximum limits on strength and size. If companies claim e-cigarettes will help smokers quit, they will have to seek a medicines licence as is the case with patches and gum. Issues such as age limits and how available e-cigarettes are will be decided by national governments.
Ms McAvan European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the tobacco directive, said: “Over 700,000 people die every year in the European Union as a result of smoking and 70% of those started smoking before the age of 18. Nearly 14,000 children between the ages of 11-15 here in our region are regular smokers and the EU has a responsibility to make smoking as unattractive as possible to the next generation.”
Under the deal, there will be graphic picture warnings on cigarettes, roll your own, and waterpipe tobacco, covering 65 per cent of the front and back of packaging. There will also be a ban on flavourings in cigarettes, with a menthol ban phased in from 2020.
The proposal means that Electronic-cigarettes will be subject to some moderate regulation to ensure that they are safe for users.
Linda McAvan MEP added:“Four thousand British children start smoking each week - that’s a staggering 200,000 new childhood smokers a year.
“More than 700,000 people a year die in the European Union as a result of smoking and 70% of those started smoking before the age of 18. Nearly half of all smokers will die from a smoking related disease and tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable premature deaths across Europe.
“Today’s vote is an important step towards preventing children taking up smoking and I hope the UK government will now consider going even further.”