LUXEMBOURG — The European Union is moving toward a major clampdown on tobacco, with member states backing plans for bigger and bolder health warnings on cigarette packs and bans on most flavorings like menthol.

Under the proposals, mandatory warnings on packages would take up 65 percent of tobacco packaging and be more prominent, with the inclusion of gruesome pictorials.

Friday's plan of the member states now goes for negotiation to the European Parliament, where even tougher curbs on the use of tobacco might be sought.

The blueprint was decided despite the opposition of four nations that are more lenient toward smoking: Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said the crackdown was aimed at reducing smoking-related deaths, which stand at around 700,000 a year in the 27-nation bloc.


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