Bad news for U.S. burley growers: Europe bans most tobacco additives

Posted by Rob Hotakainen on October 8, 2013 

Tobacco hung in a barn in Lancaster, Ky., last week. The European Parliament today approved tobacco rules that will crack down on the use of additives. Kentucky growers say the new rules will result in a de facto ban on burley because it's routinely mixed with other flavorings and ingredients to alter the taste.

CHARLES BERTRAM/LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER/MCT

Delivering a blow to the U.S. tobacco industry, the European Parliament today voted to ban the use of most additives and flavorings used to improve the taste of cigarettes.

Kentucky burley growers had lobbied against the measure, fearing the new rules would make it harder to sell their crop to Europeans. Currently, 43 percent of the burley grown in Kentucky is exported to Europe. The burley is routinely mixed with additives.

Backers of the new rules say they're aimed at making tobacco products less attractive to young people.

Under the new rules, all cigarette packs must also carry a health warning covering 65 percent of their surface.

The Parliament rejected a proposed ban on slim cigarettes.

Currently, 28 percent of all Europeans smoke, down from 40 percent in 2002. And smoking is blamed on 700,000 deaths each year in the European Union.

 

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