The sale of cigarettes in packets of 10 is expected to be banned by 2016 after MEPs voted for tighter restrictions on tobacco use across Europe.

Electronic cigarette substitutes, which are increasingly popular as a less harmful alternative to smoking, will be subjected to the same strict limitations on advertising as ordinary tobacco products under the plan aimed at reducing smoking among women and young people.

Linda McAvan, the Labour MEP who drafted the legislation, said the new rules would protect “children from being targeted by tobacco companies” via the lure of attractive branding, small female friendly packs and flavoured cigarettes.

“Four thousand British children start smoking each week that s a staggering 200,000 new childhood smokers a year,” she said.

The new rules must be agreed by ministers and voted on again by the European Parliament before they become law throughout the European Union, but with most governments in favour this is not expected to pose an obstacle.

Related Articles

  • E cigarettes all you need to know

    13 Oct 2013

  • Welsh e cigarette ban all you need to know about ‘vaping’

    02 Apr 2014

  • Tobacco giants fear ‘sleepwalking into curbs

    24 Aug 2013

  • British American Tobacco profits rise amid higher prices

    28 Feb 2013

  • BAT plans to dominate e cigarette market

    31 Jul 2013

  • EU to outlaw cigarette packet branding by ‘the back door’

    19 Dec 2012

The ban on packets of 10, supported by the Government, would hit two million British smokers because the small packs targeted by the EU because they are thought to be favoured by the young account for 38 per cent of cigarettes sold in the UK.

It came under immediate fire from the smokers group Forest, whose campaigns manager, Angela Harbutt, said that buying smaller packets was “an economic necessity” for some. “It is a mean spirited measure that punishes those on low incomes,” she said.

Apart from Britain Italy is the only other EU country that does not already require cigarettes to be sold in packets of 19 or 20.

The ban will also have an impact on British smokers of hand rolling tobacco. Many British roll up smokers buy their leaf tobacco in 12.5 gram packets which will be banned by the EU, with a new minimum sales weight of 20g.

MEPs also voted to ban menthol cigarettes by 2022, a decision that delayed by five years a European Commission proposal that would have prohibited mint, fruit or sweet flavoured tobacco by the end of 2016.

The menthol ban will eventually wipe out annual British cigarette sales worth up to f650 million, imposing losses of over f6 billion a year on the tobacco industry, which has warned that the measure will lead to increased smuggling.

Drago Azinovic, the EU region head of Philip Morris International, warned “MEPs have voted to ban an entire segment of the legal market, despite the inevitable increase in illegal trade that this will fuel.”

Under the new EU rules, graphic health warnings, including colour photographs of tumours, must cover 65 per cent of tobacco packaging relegating the names of famous brands such as Benson and Hedges, Marlboro or Gauloises to the bottom edge of cigarette packets.

As well as taking a significant towards plain packaging, the use of words such as “light”, “mild” and “low tar” to describe cigarettes and other tobacco products will be prohibited completely.

In a setback for public health campaigners, the commission, most national governments, including Britain and the pharmaceutical industry, most MEPs rejected a ban on longer, narrower “slim” cigarettes, or for the sale of electronic cigarettes to be restricted by classing them as medicines.

“It is bitterly disappointing that MEPs chose to protect the interests of the tobacco lobby today, rather than protect the health of our young people,” said Keith Taylor, a Green MEP.

As cigarette smoking has been increasingly stigmatised and prohibited, the sale of e cigarettes has risen dramatically from f2.5 million in 2011 to f23.9m last year.

E cigarettes consist of a battery, a cartridge containing nicotine, a solution of propylene glycol or glycerine mixed with water, and an atomiser to turn the solution into a vapour.

Their growing popularity led the commission to propose classing them as a medicine alongside nicotine patches and other “smoking cessation” products.

Current plans by Britain s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to class e cigarettes as medicinal products could now be overturned by the EU decision.

A Department of Health spokesman said “We are disappointed with the decision to reject the proposal to regulate nicotine containing products, including e cigarettes, as medicines,” said a department of health spokesman.

“We believe these products need to be regulated as medicines and will continue to make this point during further negotiations.”

Welsh e-cigarette ban: all you need to know about ‘vaping’ – telegraph

E-cigarettes not regulated as medicines says the european parliament – lexology

This article was first published on October 13 2013 and has been updated following the news that Wales could ban e cigarettes.

Kate Moss is a fan, as is Leonardo DiCaprio. With an estimated seven million users in Europe alone, electronic cigarettes are definitely on trend. They are also proving controversial recently, a Mothercare worker was suspended after “vaping” in front of customers. Michelle Capewell, 41, was told to leave the store by her manager after taking a drag of her ecigarette.

That is not the only row the gadgets have sparked. Public health experts are sharply divided about ecigarettes, with some arguing they could substantially cut deaths from tobacco of which there are 100,000 annually in the UK while others warn they will only glamorise smoking, especially among the young.

Euro MPs have added to the confusion by throwing out a European Commission proposal, supported by the UK s regulatory authority, to treat e cigarettes as medicines.

E cigarettes comprise a battery, atomiser and a cartridge containing nicotine, suspended in a solution of propylene glycol (the stuff from which theatrical smoke is made). When the user inhales, the solution is vaporised (hence “vaping”), delivering a nicotine hit to the lungs without the tar and toxins that would come from conventional cigarettes.

Related Articles

  • Wales could ban e cigarettes

    02 Apr 2014

  • EU bans packets of 10 and menthol cigarettes

    08 Oct 2013

  • Quit smoking with Team Telegraph

    13 Jun 2007

  • New dog quarantine rules increase rabies risk

    20 Oct 2013

  • EU seeks ‘a ban on all currently available electronic cigarettes’

    28 Nov 2013

  • E cigarettes to be banned for under 18s

    25 Jan 2014

Some e cigarettes have an indicator light at the end which glows when the user inhales, to give an added touch of realism. And, unlike standard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gums, patches and sprays, they offer “the cigarette experience”, notes Jeremy Mean, from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA). “Rituals such as having something to hold are very important in addiction,” he says. “E cigarettes may help some people more than standard NRT.”

One study of 657 smokers, published in The Lancet, found that ecigarettes worked as well as nicotine patches in helping people stop smoking within six months. With an average quitting rate of about 6 per cent, neither method worked brilliantly, but e cigarettes were also better at reducing conventional cigarette use among those who did not give up totally.

“We cannot say they are 100 per cent safe because there isn t enough evidence,” says Amanda Sandford, research manager at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). “But in comparison to tobacco products they are safer by several orders of magnitude.” Unlike with passive smoking from conventional cigarettes, the effect on others from the vapour exhaled is thought to be negligible.

However, there is a problem with quality control which is why the MHRA wants to see e cigarettes regulated as medicine. This should come into effect in 2016, although without a Europe wide initiative the UK may act unilaterally. “Our tests show that different products vary in how much nicotine they deliver” says Jeremy Mean. “So some products may not help people regulate their nicotine cravings.”

There are also fears that ecigarettes could “renormalise” smoking and promote nicotine addiction. “This is precisely why they need regulating as medicines, so that they are not sold to under 18s or targeted at non smokers,” says Mean. He advises that for now, would be quitters should use conventional NRT products patches, gums and sprays rather than ecigarettes.

Amanda Sandford agrees that the potential of ecigarettes to reduce tobacco related damage outweighs the risks, but “they are not a panacea”. “Our research shows that two thirds of people who try ecigarettes give them up although we don t know why.”