EU OKs Strict Tobacco Labelling, Ingredient Rules
BRUSSELS -- A conciliation committee representing European Union countries and the European Parliament agreed Wednesday on strict measures to cut toxic ingredients in cigarettes and to impose more stringent labeling rules on tobacco product manufacturers.
The agreement, which still needs to be formally adopted by E.U. countries and the parliament, imposes a maximum of 10 milligrams tar in cigarettes. At present, the maximum limit is 12 milligrams. In addition, cigarettes must not contain over 1 milligram of nicotine, or more than 10 milligrams of carbon monoxide.
The regulation will go into effect Sept. 30, 2002, but manufacturers have one year after that to implement the rules for cigarettes and two years after that for other tobacco products.
The new law also imposes labeling restrictions.
Tobacco manufacturers will be forbidden from using the terms 'mild' or 'light' on all their packaging. This rule also applies to trade mark names including Philip Morris Co.'s (MO) Marlboro Lights and RJR Nabisco Co.'s (RJR) Camel Lights.
There will also be new rules specifically for cigarette packet labeling.
Thirty percent of the space on the front of cigarette packets must be dedicated to a warning that says smoking kills or smoking can kill. Alternatively, a warning about second hand smoke can be put on the front of the package. The warning, which is the first about second hand smoke in E.U. rules, should say 'smoking seriously harms you and others around you.'
On the back of the cigarette packet, 40% of the space must be dedicated to one of 15 different warnings.
For tobaccos products other than cigarettes, a warning must be included if the package is larger than 75 square centimeters.
Jules Maaten, member of the European parliament, told journalists that the U.S. tobacco manufacturers don't oppose the new rule. 'They have seen it coming and they are willing to adapt,' he said. However the new rule was opposed by several European manufacturers of brands including Austria's Milde Sorte and Portugal's Soave, he said.
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