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Summaries of EU Legislation

Tighter EU rules on tobacco

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Tighter EU rules on tobacco


Rules on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products – Directive 2014/40/EU



It lays down rules on the manufacture, presentation and sale of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes and herbal products for smoking.

It aims to improve the functioning of the EU's internal market for tobacco products, whilst assuring a high level of public health.


Health warnings

The Directive requires large picture and text health warnings on the top edge of both sides of packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco.

These must cover 65 % of the front and back of the packet and comply with minimum dimensions.

A European Commission Directive, Directive 2014/109/EU, establishes a library of picture warnings to be used on tobacco product packaging (see the Directive's Annex II).

Ban on flavours and slim packaging

It bans both

characterising flavours, such as fruit and menthol, which encourage the uptake of smoking by softening harsher tobacco flavours, and

attractive, slim, lipstick-style cigarette packages that are often specifically targeted at girls and young women and can partially disguise health warnings.

Safety and quality rules for electronic cigarettes

The legislation sets out safety and quality rules for nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes.

Health warnings on e-cigarette packs will be mandatory and no promotional elements will be allowed on packets.

Reports on ingredients

Manufacturers must submit detailed reports to national authorities on the ingredients they use in their products and notify them of any new items before offering these for sale.

Other measures

EU countries may, if they wish, ban Internet sales of cigarettes and tobacco products and a Europe-wide tracking and monitoring system is being introduced to tackle the illegal trade in cigarettes.


The legislation, which updates the first tobacco directive from 2001, entered into force on 19 May 2014. EU countries have to incorporate it into national law by 20 May 2016.


Every year, 700 000 Europeans die from smoking-related illnesses. The habit is formed young, with 70 % of smokers in Europe starting before the age of 18, and 94 % before the age of 25.

Several of the Directive’s provisions aim specifically at making tobacco products less appealing and attractive to young people. Ensuring that tobacco products in the EU look and taste like tobacco is expected to help reduce the numbers starting to smoke, especially the young.


Directive 2014/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products and repealing Directive 2001/37/EC (OJ L 127, 29.4.2014, pp. 1–38)

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2014/40/EU have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 14.01.2016