News story

PHE welcomes vote to strengthen EU tobacco regulation

The endorsement by the European Parliament of the Draft European Tobacco Products Directive is a highly significant and welcome development.


The draft legislation includes many strong measures aimed at making tobacco products less appealing to young people. This includes the requirement for all packs to carry picture warnings covering 65% of their surface and for the minimum pack size to be increased to 20. Flavours that would make the product more attractive by giving it a ‘characterising flavour’ will be banned, with menthol banned from 2020. E-cigarettes will be regulated, either as medicinal products if they claim to help smokers to quit, or as tobacco products. Following formal adoption by the European Council, governments in the EU Member States will have two years to include the Directive’s provisions in national law.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said:

This represents a great step forward in protecting young people from the advances of the tobacco industry. Public Health England particularly welcomes the clarity provided on the regulation of e-cigarettes, which will give confidence to users in the safety and efficacy of products and also remove the opportunity for these products to be marketed and sold to young people and non-smokers.

Published 27 February 2014