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European Parliament tighten anti-tobacco laws aimed at young smokers

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Euro MPs have voted to tighten tobacco regulations aimed at putting young people off smoking, but some measures do not go as far as originally planned - reports BBC.

They rejected a European Commission proposal to treat electronic cigarettes as medicinal products - a move that would have restricted sales.

They backed a ban on cigarette flavourings - but with a five-year delay in the case of menthol.

Slim cigarettes will not be banned. EU ministers must now consider the plans.

Among other measures, MEPs voted on Tuesday to put health warnings on 65% of each cigarette pack, as opposed to the proposed 75%.

The current requirement for health warnings is for 30% minimum coverage on one side and 40% on the other.

Packs of 10 cigarettes, considered popular among younger smokers, will also be banned.

Fourteen EU states already have 20 as the minimum, four stipulate a minimum of 19, and in the UK and Italy the minimum is 10.

Smaller than normal packs of roll-your-own tobacco will still be allowed under the new rules.

It was the European Parliament's first reading of a draft tobacco directive which could become law in 2014. It would then take two more years to become law in each of the 28 EU member states.

There has been intense lobbying of MEPs by the tobacco industry and health campaigners.

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Reporter: Sz. Cs.
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