by Steve Hynd

Always eager to break a story, the blog Guido Fawkes ran with this headline ‘EU Agrees Ban on Menthol Cigarettes’ today.

As this story breaks, I am sure that you will see comparable headlines cropping up in newspapers across the UK.

The problem is, the story isn t really true. At best it is preemptive. The EU simply has not banned menthol cigarettes.

So what has happened? The Council of Ministers has met and voted to support a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes (although some Ministers such as the Polish Minister has opposed the move).

This proposal will not become law unless the European Parliament votes it through.

You might at this point think I am being a little bit over the top? A mere technicality you say!

But think of this another way. Would a UK publication run the headline, British Parliament agrees ban on xxx if in actual fact only the House of Lords (one third of the British Parliament) had actually voted on it? No, of course not, it would be wildly misleading.

So why the different approach for EU related affairs? The Council of Ministers makes up just one third of major EU institutions and yet publications run headlines claiming it represents the whole of the EU.

The difference is of course that most Brits don t know what the Council of Ministers is, let alone what it does and so are incapable and unwilling to hold the papers and politicians to account.

PS there is more info by Andy Carling here.

Eu approves law to regulate e-cigarettes – indian express

Discount cigarettes in watsonville, california ca (podiatry)

European Union diplomats approved new anti tobacco legislation on Wednesday, including larger health warnings on cigarette packets and the bloc’s first ever rules on electronic cigarettes.

“Agreement on the tobacco directive is a big step towards a healthier and more prosperous society,” said Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, health minister of Lithuania, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

The deal was struck after governments and the European Parliament resolved a dispute over how tightly to regulate the booming market for e cigarettes, which some analysts predict will eclipse the $700 billion a year regular cigarette market in 10 years.

Under the agreement, most e cigarettes will be sold as consumer products rather than as more tightly regulated medical devices, as governments had initially wanted.

But while popular refillable e cigarettes will be allowed, the European Commission could impose an EU wide ban in future if three or more member states prohibit them on health grounds.

From 2016 when the rules changes will take effect, cigarettes, rolling tobacco and other products will have to carry graphic picture and text warnings covering 65% of the front and back of packets.

The rules also include a ban on smoking tobacco products containing flavours like fruit or vanilla. Menthol cigarettes will be banned four years later, after some governments demanded a slower phase out.