EU Stops"Light" and "Mild" Cigarette Branding [10/02-1]
Excerpts from: EU Stubs Out 'Light' and 'Mild' Cigarettes
By David Milliken Reuters
The European Union halted the branding of cigarettes as "light" or
"mild" on Wednesday but smokers and tobacco firms shrugged off the
latest step in the EU's campaign against smoking.
Cigarettes may no longer be produced under popular brand names such as Altria's
Marlboro Lights and Japan Tobacco's Mild Seven, which the EU says mislead consumers
about the dangers of smoking.
Stark health warnings such as "Smoking Kills" must now cover at least
30 percent of the front of each packet and 40 percent of the back, and an even
greater area where messages are printed in more than one national language.
However, smokers will not see an immediate change. Tobacco firms have been
phasing in new products over recent months, and retailers can still sell old
stocks which breach the new rules.
"There aren't going to be any mass burnings of cigarette packets,"
said Thorsten Muench, the spokesman for EU Health Commissioner David Byrne.
Smoking kills more than 500,000 EU citizens each year and Byrne has been at
the forefront of efforts to reduce the deaths.
Smokers were skeptical that the bigger warnings and change of names would encourage
them to quit.
Cigarette firms have had plenty of time to get used to the new rules after failing
to block them in the European Court of Justice last December.
British American Tobacco's Lucky Strike Lights are now Lucky Strike Silver,
but its head of science and regulation, Chris Procter, said the switch would
not help smokers.
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