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May 21st, 2016:

Bigger warnings for cigarette packs

Cigarette packets must feature bigger and more graphic health warnings, as new EU rules come into force.

Smokers will be told that lighting up exposes them to 70 substances that are known to cause cancer.

The EU directive, signed into law by Health Minister Simon Harris, will see cigarette packs with health warnings covering 65pc of their surface.

It means an end to packs of 10 cigarettes or super-slim packs, and soon menthol cigarettes will be banned.

Cigarettes and tobacco products may no longer have flavours such as menthol, vanilla or candy that mask the taste and smell of tobacco.

The Minister said: “These measures will further complement the tobacco control initiatives already in place and will help to drive down consumption of tobacco and protect public health.” He welcomed the UK Government’s court victory on plain packaging of cigarettes and intends to progress Ireland’s own legislation, which allows for the same measure here.

Victoria to treat e-cigarettes the same as tobacco products

Under-18s will be banned from buying the electronic smoking devices as part of new legislation to be introduced into parliament next week

Under-18s will be banned from buying e-cigarettes as part of new Victorian legislation that will treat the electronic smoking devices the same as tobacco products.

All existing bans on the sale, use and promotion of tobacco products will also apply to e-cigarettes in Victoria, under changes to be introduced into parliament next week.

Smoking e-cigarettes in schools or cars carrying children will be outlawed.

The health minister, Jill Hennessy, said the new legislation would help de-normalise the harmful habit and protect children.

The laws will apply to all e-cigarettes regardless of whether they contain nicotine because laboratory testing is often needed to determine if nicotine is present.

The legislative changes will also include a ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas, which will come into effect on 1 August next year.

Any food fair or organised outdoor events where there are food stalls will come under the ban.

Events devoted to food, such as the Night Noodle Market, will be smoke free, while an outdoor festival, like Moomba, will not be subject to the ban, but smoking will not be allowed within 10 metres of a food stall.

Hennessy said the changes were about protecting Victorians from second-hand smoke and changing the culture around smoking.

“People would be really outraged if someone lit up a ciggie in a restaurant and I think that shows how important it is to change the cultural norms about where and how people smoke,” Hennessy said.

“Four thousand Victorians still die every year of tobacco related illness.”

Fines of more than $150 will apply to people caught smoking in outdoor areas.

“Ultimately we want social norms of where people smoke to change,” Hennessy said.