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EU lawmakers back tougher antismoking rules

BRUSSELS — The European Parliament voted Wednesday for tougher antismoking rules that will make health warnings on cigarette packs larger and include mandatory pictures of rotting teeth or cancer-infested lungs.

Gruesome warning photos can already be found on cigarette packs in some countries, but they will have to be bigger and used across all the 28 EU countries in 2016, according to the legislation.

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The warnings will occupy 65 percent of the front and the back of cigarette packages plus 50 percent of its sides, including text health warnings like ‘‘smoking kills — quit now.’’ Current warning labels cover only 30 to 40 percent of the packages.

The legislation also introduces tighter regulation of e-cigarettes, advertisement rules, and a ban on most flavored tobacco products.

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Menthol-flavored cigarettes are granted an extension but will be banned by 2020, according to the new law.

Officials and health advocates welcomed the changes as a milestone in helping to reduce the number of smokers in the 28-nation bloc, while the tobacco industry condemned them as burdensome regulations on an industry that pays lots of taxes.

The legislation still requires approval by EU governments next month, which it is widely expected to receive.

Associated Press

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