BRUSSELS BRUSSELS (AP) European lawmakers approved sweeping new regulations governing the multibillion dollar tobacco market on Tuesday, including bigger drastic health warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on menthol and other flavorings to further curb smoking. They stopped short, however, of tough limits on electronic cigarettes.

The European Parliament vote in Strasbourg came after months of bitter debate and an unusually strong lobbying campaign by the tobacco industry, which decries the regulations as disproportionate and limiting consumer freedom. The Parliament dismissed many of the industry’s arguments, agreeing on a slightly watered down version of the proposed legislation.

The lawmakers voted to impose warning labels with the inclusion of gruesome pictorials, for example showing cancer infested lungs covering 65 percent of cigarette packs and to be shown above the brand logo. Current warning labels cover only 30 40 percent of packages.

The legislature still must reach a compromise with the 28 European Union governments on certain points before the rules can enter into force. Diplomats say a deal could be struck by the end of the year.

The new rules were viewed by the World Health Organization and EU health officials as an important milestone but not the end of their quest to stop people from smoking and keep teens from ever picking up a cigarette.

Smoking bans in public, limits on tobacco firms’ advertising, and other measures over the past decade have seen the number of smokers fall from an estimated 40 percent of the EU’s 500 million citizens to 28 percent now. Still, treatment of smoke related diseases costs about 25 billion euros ($34 billion) a year, and the bloc estimates there are around 700,000 smoking related deaths per annum across the 28 nation bloc.

Legislators also voted for new limits on advertising for electronic cigarettes, but rejected a measure that would have restricted them to medical use only. The battery operated products, which are enjoying a boom in the United States and many European countries, turn nicotine into a vapor inhaled by the user and are often marketed as a less harmful alternative to tobacco. Many health experts say e cigarettes are useful for people trying to quit or cut down on nicotine.

Armando Peruga, a tobacco control expert at WHO in Geneva, said regulating e cigarettes wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing and that WHO is currently evaluating their safety and effectiveness. “We do think e cigarettes could be useful, but we need more information. We have not yet ruled them out. We do think they could be helpful for some smokers.”

Linda McAvan, a member of the European Parliament and Britain’s opposition Labour Party, said she expects tougher rules on electronic cigarettes down the line, saying that most EU governments want them. “We want to make sure they aren’t marketed as gateway products for young people.”

The European Parliament also voted to ban additives and flavorings like chocolate or vanilla, starting three years after the legislation will come into force, and five years later for menthol, possibly in 2022. Opponents argued fruity or other pleasant aromas entice novices to smoke. Lawmakers also banned small packages said to entice young smokers, but rejected a ban on slim cigarettes popular with women.

“We are not telling Europeans what to do, but we don’t want the industry to mislead the young,” McAvan stressed. “We want tobacco products that look and taste like tobacco. There won’t be any more lipstick or perfume style cigarettes packets,” she added.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland wrote a fervent appeal to lawmakers on Monday, saying “Every year, more Europeans die from smoking than from the combined total of car accidents, fires, heroin, cocaine, murder and suicide.”

Lobbying against the measure was led by Philip Morris International Inc., which owns several brands such as Marlboro and said the new legislation was “deeply flawed.” It condemned what it called “oversized graphic health warnings and pack standardization.”

The vote “failed to take into account the views of millions of EU citizens, including our employees, retailers, tobacco growers and adult consumers who will be impacted by these measures,” the company said in a statement.

Philip Morris, with $8.5 billion of sales and 12,500 employees in Europe, has also claimed the regulation could result in up to 175,000 job losses and lost tax revenues of 5 billion euros ($6.8 billion) per year.

Leftists broadly favored the new regulations, joined by many conservatives concerned about the costs to national health care systems of smoking related treatment. The package was adopted in a 560 92 vote with 32 abstentions.

Charlton reported from Paris. Maria Cheng in London contributed to this report.

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  • You’ll Be Less Anxious

    Even though smokers may believe taking a long drag on a cigarette can help to calm nerves, a British study published earlier this year suggests that quitting can actually decrease anxiety more over the long term. “People who achieve abstinence experience a marked reduction in anxiety whereas those who fail to quit experience a modest increase in the long term,” researchers wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry study, as reported by CBC News. Similarly, a 2010 study in the journal Addiction showed that perceived stress decreased for people who quit smoking for a year after hospitalization for heart disease, Reuters reported.

  • Your Mouth Will Thank You

    Quitting the habit could dramatically decrease your risk of dental problems like cavities and gum disease, and even more dangerous conditions like oral cancer, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HealthDay reported that compared with former smokers, smokers have a 1.5 times higher risk of developing at least three oral health conditions.

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    Here’s a bedroom related reason to quit smoking studies have suggested a link between smoking and decreased sex drives for both men and women. Studies published in 2008 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that nicotine can affect even nonsmoking men’s and women’s sexual arousal. And if that’s not enough to convince you, well, there’s also this.

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    If you want your skin to be at its best, then you’re better off quitting cigarettes. WebMD points out that smoking affects skin tone, promotes sagginess and, of course, causes those wrinkles around the lip area. However, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery notes that just a month and a half after quitting smoking, your skin will already begin to look better.

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    If you love your hair, maybe it’s time to put the cigarettes down. Research has linked smoking with an increased risk of male pattern baldness. BBC News reported in 2007 on a Archives of Dermatology study, showing even after taking into account other hair loss risk factors like age and race, heavy smoking (at least 20 cigarettes daily) raised the risk of baldness. And a 2011 study showed that smoking, stress, drinking and genes were all risk factors for baldness, WebMD reported.

  • Your Mood Will Improve

    Here’s a pretty good benefit Stopping smoking could make you a happier person, according to research from Brown University. Researchers there found that smokers were never happier than when they were quitting smoking, even if they went back to smoking afterward. According to a news release The most illustrative and somewhat tragic subjects were the ones who only quit temporarily. Their moods were clearly brightest at the checkups when they were abstinent. After going back to smoking, their mood darkened, in some cases to higher levels of sadness than before.

  • You’ll Have More Birthdays

    Stopping smoking may he
    lp women live a decade longer than they would have if they had continued lighting up, according to a 2012 study in The Lancet. Researchers also found that the more the women smoked, the higher their risk of premature death, with even “light” smokers (those who smoked just one to nine cigarettes a day) having a doubled risk of death compared with non smokers. “If women smoke like men, they die like men but, whether they are men or women, smokers who stop before reaching middle age will on average gain about an extra ten years of life,” study researcher Professor Sir Richard Peto, of the University of Oxford, said in a statement.

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    If you don’t like bland food, then don’t smoke, research suggests. A small 2009 study of Greek soldiers shows an association between smoking and “fewer and flatter” taste buds, according to a statement on the research.

  • Your Colds Won’t Be As Bad

    Mild cold symptoms could take on a more serious form for smokers, according to a study from Yale University researchers. The findings, published in 2008 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed an overreaction of the immune systems of cigarette smoke exposed mice when exposed to a virus similar to the flu. “The anti viral responses in the cigarette smoke exposed mice were not only not defective, but were hyperactive,” study researcher Dr. Jack A. Elias, M.D., said in a statement. “These findings suggest that smokers do not get in trouble because they can’t clear or fight off the virus they get in trouble because they overreact to it.”

  • Quitting Smoking And Money Saving

    Eletta Hansen explains some facts about smoking, and discusses how much money will you save if you quit smoking

Eu lawmakers approve strict rules for tobacco, e-cigarettes – law360

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Law360, New York (February 26, 2014, 6 26 PM ET) European Union lawmakers on Wednesday approved a final version of legislation putting further restrictions on the sale and marketing of tobacco products including, for the first time, electronic cigarettes all but guaranteeing its implementation.

The European Parliament passed the draft legislation by a vote of 514 to 66, with 58 lawmakers abstaining.

Representatives of the EU&#39 s 28 member state governments will vote on March 14 on whether to approve the measure. They are expected to do so, as they put forward the version of…