Cyprus Mail

New bill to regulate harsher smoking rules, images on packets

THE cabinet has approved smoking regulations with large warnings to harmonise national legislation with the European Union Tobacco Products Directive. The new bill calls for the introduction of health warnings with pictures and text on cigarette packages, and the prohibition of electronic cigarettes in non-smoking areas.

The bill, which is to replace the existing law on smoking controls, will be submitted by the health ministry to parliament.

“The abolition of the basic law and its replacement with the proposed bill was deemed necessary due to the many amendments added, which would make it illegible and incomprehensible,” a cabinet announcement said. It added that the abolition of existing regulations was in order as they were harmonised with a previous EU directive which is being replaced by the new one.

The cabinet proposed a number of harmonising regulations, but also national ones.

The provisions to harmonise national legislation with that of the EU call for health warnings on packages of tobacco and related products. According to the EU Directive, “combined (picture and text) health warnings must cover 65per cent of the front and back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packages”.

It also prohibits cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours, and requires the tobacco industry to submit detailed reports to the health ministry on the ingredients used in tobacco products.

The directive also eliminates small packages for certain tobacco products. “The sale of packages containing under 20 cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco under 30gramms will be prohibited,” the cabinet said.

The bill also provides for safety and quality requirements for consumer electronic cigarettes.

As regards national regulations, the cabinet proposes the prohibition of smoking in workplaces, hospitals, and schools, including open spaces within these places.

“In the non-smoking areas, smoking electronic cigarettes, herbal smoking products, and water pipes, will also be prohibited,” the announcement said.

It added that individuals or businesses that do not abide, will be fined up to €850. National regulations also provide for the withdrawal, even destruction of all those smoke products that exceed permitted levels of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide measurements.

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