EU turns the screw on tobacco: new warnings, gory pictures, ban on ‘light’ branding, additive disclosure, tar limits

Tuesday 15 May 2001


Immediate Release: Wed 15 May  2001


Bigger betterwarnings, gory pictures, a ban on ‘lights’, disclosure of additives, new  limits on tar  ­ EU turns the screw on tobacco


New measures regulating tobacco in the European Union finally became lawtoday as the European Parliament voted to adopt a <ahref=”http:”” html=”” regulation=”” pdfs=”” conciliationtext.pdf”=””><spanstyle=’text-decoration:none;’>new directive atmidday today in Strasbourg.  [<ahref=”http:”” html=”” regulation=”” pdfs=”” conciliationtext.pdf”=””>1]


This directive covers:

  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>        Maximum tar yields (10mg,was 12mg), nicotine (1 mg, previously no limit) and carbon monoxide (10mg,previously no limit) for cigarettes sold and manufactured in the EU
  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>        New health warningscovering 30% and 40% of the two main pack faces [<spanstyle=’text-decoration:none;’>warning texts below]
  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>        Development of specificationsfor pictorial warnings (as now used in Canada)
  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>        Tobacco companiesrequired to disclose ingredients and additives by brand
  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>        Removal of misleading branding­ such as ‘light’ and ‘mild’ ­ unjustified implied health claims
  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>        Review and European Commissionreport by 2004, setting the stage for a further directive
  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>        The directive wouldcome into force on 30 September 2002, though some provisions do not apply until2007.


Clive Bates, Director ofASH, commented:


“Thisis another important turn of the screw on the tobacco manufacturers andsmoking.  The new warnings will be muchmore in your face than before, and they start to give a realistic anddisturbing communication of the range of gruesome risks involved in smoking.”


“Noone thing ever makes people stop smoking, but it is usually a combination ofthings like higher prices, no advertising, worries about kids, difficulty insmoking at work, and more determination to quit.  The new warnings are an additional ingredient in the mix ofinfluences that drive smokers to want to kick the habit.


“Everybodyknows that smoking is dangerous, but hardly anyone can tell you how dangerousor name many of the twenty or so fatal conditions associated with smoking andthe new warnings put the message over much more forcefully and with betterinformation.”


“Followingand ASH campaign on smoking and impotence we are delighted to see warningsabout reduced blood flow, impotence, sperm damage and fertility will be goingon the packs.”


“Itis absolutely right to ban the misleading branding of light and ultra-lowcigarettes, these have been one of the biggest consumer confidence tricks inmodern times.  The light branding makesit look as though the cigarettes will be less harmful, but in practice smokerssmoke them more intensively and end up with just as much tar and nicotine inthe lungs.


[1] Text of the directive,including warnings:  <ahref=”http:”” ?regulation”=””> (menuwith other relevant resources) or <ahref=”http:”” html=”” regulation=”” pdfs=”” conciliationtext.pdf”=””> (thetext itself – PDF)


Contact: Clive Bates: 020 7739 5902 (office) 077 6879 1237 (mobile): 0208800 1336 (home).

ISDN available.

New warnings

<spanlang=en-gb style=”font-family:Arial;”>

<spanlang=en-gb style=”font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Arial;”>General warnings ­ rotated on the front of the pack

<spanlang=en-gb style=”font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Arial;”>

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:arial’>1.”Smoking kills/Smoking can kill”


<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:arial’>2.”Smoking seriously harms you and others around you”

<spanlang=en-gb style=”font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Arial;”>

<spanlang=en-gb style=”font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Arial;”>

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;’>List of additional healthwarnings  – rotated on the back of thepack

  1. Smokers die younger.
  2. Smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks andstrokes.
  3. Smoking causes fatal lung cancer.
  4. Smoking when pregnant harms your baby.
  5. Protect children: don’t make them breathe your smoke.
  6. Your doctor or your pharmacist can help you stop smoking.
  7. Smoking is highly addictive, don’t start.
  8. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of fatal heart and lungdiseases.
  9. Smoking can cause a slow and painful death.
  10. Get help to stop smoking: (telephone/postaladdress/internet address/consult your


  1. Smoking may reduce the blood flow and causes impotence.
  2. Smoking causes ageing of the skin.
  3. Smoking can damage the sperm and decreases fertility.

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:arial’>14. Smokecontains benzene, nitrosamines, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide.