BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's executive Commission will propose larger health warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on flavorings such as menthol, a draft revision of EU tobacco rules seen by Reuters on Monday showed.
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The proposals stop short of forcing all cigarettes to be sold in plain packets carrying graphic health warnings, as required in Australia from the start of this month. But individual EU governments will be free to impose plain packaging if they so wish.
"The proposal foresees that combined warnings (picture plus text) of 75 percent should be displayed on both sides of the packages of tobacco products," the draft legislation from the European Commission said.
"However, a member state may maintain more stringent national provisions... in areas covered by this directive, on grounds of overriding needs relating to the protection of public health," it added.
The proposals, due be published on Wednesday, must be jointly approved by EU governments and the European Parliament before they can become law, in a process that could take up to two years.
(Reporting by Charlie Dunmore and Claire Davenport; editing by Rex Merrifield)
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