European court: Tougher rules on electronic cigarettes

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union’s top court has approved new rules requiring plain cigarette packs, banning menthol cigarettes and regulating the growing electronic cigarette market.

Tobacco companies had protested a 2014 EU tobacco directive, calling it disproportionate. But the European Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled the directive is in line with efforts to protect public health.

The court upheld a ban on menthol and other flavorings that make tobacco more appealing. The directive also requires standardized, plain labels that cover cigarette packs at least 65 percent with health warnings.

The rules will require warnings for e-cigarettes, limit their nicotine levels to 20 grams and restrict advertising and sponsorship by their makers.

The Independent British Vape Trade Association argued the ruling could push some e-cigarette smokers back to tobacco.

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