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“Menthols will disappear, while slims will remain”, headlines Rzeczpospolita. “Shocking pictures to scare smokers”, announces the Süddeutsche Zeitung, while the Financial Times notes that “electronic cigarettes exhale a sigh of relief”. The draft law on tobacco, voted by the European Parliament on October 8, has many aspects.

For Poland, “the EU’s main cigarette producer,” the vote is “a step in the right direction”, notes Rzeczpospolita. Menthol cigarettes will not be taken off the market for another eight years, and health-warnings will only cover 65 per cent of packaging, down from a proposed 75 per cent. On this last point, warns the daily, making packs all the same will make smuggling easier, at a time when one pack in every five sold in the country is already counterfeit.

For its part, Süddeutsche Zeitung believes that the text endorsed by MEPs is “an excellent illustration of a confused and blundering policy” —

Smoking kills 700,000 people every year in the European Union, and burdens the healthcare system with billions of euros in extra costs. However, [it must not be forgotten] that many lifestyles are dangerous and costly for society. Nonetheless, the state lets its citizens live them, and rightly so. Because a free society is one that allows people – up to a certain limit – to harm themselves and the community. What’s more, the state, which is happy to levy a tobacco tax on smokers, rakes in a lot of money from the disaster of smoking.

To date, stresses Tagesspiegel, “the strengthening of regulation” amounts to a step forward for the health of Europeans, and in particular for young people’s health. The draft law must now be negotiated with the Commission and the European Council, before a vote is taken on the final directive.