BRUSSELS -- European lawmakers have approved sweeping new regulations to curb smoking, including limits on electronic cigarettes, bigger warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on menthol.
The European Parliament vote in Strasbourg on Tuesday came after months of bitter debate.
The parliament voted to impose warning labels covering 65 percent of cigarette packs, rejecting a measure for blank packaging instead. Legislators also put new limits on advertising for electronic cigarettes, but stopped short of restricting them to therapeutic use only.They voted to ban menthol as of 2022, among other flavorings.
Tobacco lobbyists decry the regulation as disproportionate and limiting consumer freedom. European officials advocate the benefits to public health, saying smoking-related diseases cost about 25 billion euros ($34 billion) a year and around 700,000 lives across the 28-nation bloc.