The European Parliament votes today on proposals to compel cigarette manufacturers to print forceful new health warnings on cigarette packets. The proposals would require warnings to cover nearly half of the packaging, and could include photographs of the physical effects of smoking, such as rotting teeth, a diseased heart and tar-blackened lungs. There are also suggestions to highlight potential smoking-related impotence in men.

Other potential rulings would ban descriptions of cigarettes as “light”, “mild” or “low tar”, limit nicotine and carbon monoxide, and reduce current limits on tar content.

MEPs will vote on 120 amendments to plans put forward by the European Commission – many of the amendments are even more stringent than the Commission’s original proposals. The plans would represent further restrictions by the EU on tobacco manufacturers after a tobacco advertising ban was adopted two years ago. The Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association claimed last night that the proposals were sensationalist and that current labelling restrictions were adequate.

News sources: Financial Times, The Times