“The new rules will help to reduce the number of people who start smoking in the EU.

“These measures put an end to products which entice children and teenagers into starting to smoke in the European Union.”

Simon Clark, the director of the pro smoking campaign group Forest, said banning menthol cigarettes was a ban on consumer choice that “will do little” to deter children from smoking.

He also questioned the need for plain packaging legislation to remove any branding from packs, which is being considered in some EU countries, including the UK.

Uniform or plain packs have been introduced in Australia

“If health warnings are going to be even more prominent, dominating both sides of the pack, why on Earth do we need plain packaging?” he asked.

“At the very least the government should wait and see what impact the larger warnings have before introducing standardised packs which are opposed by so many people.”

The commission said plain packaging could go ahead when “justified on grounds of public health”.

Cancer Research UK’s head of tobacco policy, Alison Cox, said “Today is a great day for health. The Tobacco Products Directive sets standards on tobacco which will bring real benefits for people’s health in the UK and across Europe.”

Archie Turnbull, the president the Smoke Free Partnership, said “Today marks a genuine turning point for European tobacco control and a huge stride towards a tobacco free Europe.”

England’s Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, said “Today’s vote in the European Parliament to support new Europe wide controls on tobacco is good news for people’s health.

“The Government is serious about reducing smoking rates and in particular stopping children from taking up smoking. I am very pleased that we have made a significant step towards further tough action on tobacco in the UK and across Europe.”

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