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May 20, 9:00 AM EDT

Only 11 of 28 EU nations meet anti-smoking reform deadline


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BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union says that only 11 of 28 nations have fully adopted tough anti-smoking rules that were approved two years ago and have a Friday deadline.

Legislation was supposed to be enacted at national level following the long transition period, but like a habit that is tough to shake, EU nations have been slow to change rules, which now include larger health warnings on cigarette packs and mandatory pictures of rotting teeth or cancer-infested lungs.

Still, the EU Commission did not intend to immediately start action against those that have yet to fully enact the rules.

Beyond the 11, spokesman Alexander Winterstein said "others are making very good progress."

He said that lagging member states "now have 2 months that will allow them to tackle this issue vigorously."

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