Category: Society / January 22, 2013 1:57 PM EST
Some 1500 tobacco retailers from Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Spain gathered in front of the EU Commission in Brussels on Tuesday (January 22) to protest against a EU Commission proposal to revise the packaging and selling of cigarettes.
The 'Tobacco Products Directive' revision includes the depiction of graphic visual and written warnings on 75 percent of the surface of all cigarette packets and a ban on menthol and Slim cigarettes.
Current EU legislation says health warnings on the front of packs must cover at least 30 percent
The retailers said the new directive could threaten 25,000 jobs in the tobacco retail industry, without actually solving the problem of tobacco addiction.
The European Union made the revision proposal on December 19, saying cigarette packs should reflect the deadly threat posed by smoking.
If approved by EU member states and the European Parliament, cigarette packets will have to carry warnings such as: 'Smoking can kill your unborn child' and 'Smoking increases the risk of blindness'.
EU governments will be free to go further and ban all brand display if justified on public health grounds.
Cigarette sales in the 27-nation EU bloc have fallen sharply in recent years but according to the World Health Organization, at about 33 percent, Europe still has a higher proportion of smokers than any other region on the globe.