EU lawmakers vote on controversial anti-smoking bill
STRASBOURG (AFP) - European lawmakers Tuesday vote on a long-fought and divisive anti-smoking bill that aims to ban "slims" and menthol cigarettes while tightening legislation on increasingly popular e-cigarettes.
If adopted as stands in an afternoon vote, the legislation before the European parliament will also force tobacco firms to print large health warnings covering 75 percent of packets.
The aim is to cut the number of smokers across the 500-million bloc "by two percent in the next five years," the EU's Health Commissioner Toni Borg said as he urged MEPs to be "daring" and support the plan.
But these first anti-smoking measures in more than a decade, which specifically aim to discourage young smokers, have unleashed a tough lobbying campaign from the tobacco industry that threatens the outcome of the vote.