European Union

Europe May Ban Menthol Cigarettes

Several measures in mind to reduce smoking

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The European commission has called for strongly flavoured cigarettes to be banned and unveiled draft legislation to impose graphic images of the risks of smoking on all cigarette packaging.

Reporting that 700,000 people die in Europe every year from smoking-related diseases, the costs of treatment for which run to €25bn (£20bn) plus another €8bn in lost productivity, the commission outlined a battery of measures aimed at curbing smoking.

"We're not prohibiting smoking; we're making it less attractive for everyone," said Tonio Borg of Malta, the health commissioner. "Sometimes you need shocking pictures to shock people into stopping smoking."