The European Parliament plans to crack down on smoking by banning the sale of packs of ten cigarettes. Earlier this week member states voted to scrap the smaller packet size within the next three years, insisting that they make smoking more attractive to youngsters.
That means that by 2016, packs of ten will no longer be available, and those packet sizes that are sold will be required to carry much larger health warnings, covering at least 60 per cent of the packet.
According to the Daily Mail, it is only a draft law and there will be another vote later this year, after which member states will have 18 months in which to act on the ruling.
Meanwhile, flavoured cigarettes, such as the popular menthol varieties, look set to be phased out in eight years' time.
However, Maura Gillespie, of the British Heart Foundation, urged ministers to take further steps to make cigarettes less attractive. She told the Mail: "It's up to the UK Government to show they're made of stronger stuff and introduce standardised packs, stripped of attractive branding, without delay."
Others criticised the ban, with Ukip deputy leader Paul Nuttall claiming that the ruling would simply cause smokers to "buy more cigarettes and make them poorer" and suggesting a ban on menthol cigarettes would "simply increase the black market".
Proposed tougher rules for electronic cigarettes, whereby they would be classified as medicinal products, failed to make it into the draft law, though the Department of Health advised that Britain would regulate them as such, despite the EU ruling.
What do you think of the EU ruling? Will it cut the numbers of people taking up smoking, and increase the numbers of those quitting cigarettes? Leave your comments below...