BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ The European Union agreed Wednesday to impose graphic health warnings on cigarette packs that could cover nearly half of the package.
The draft law also requires tobacco makers to cut tar and nicotine in cigarettes both sold within the European Union and for export.
The regulations, which must be endorsed by the 15 nations of the European Union and the 626-member EU assembly, would require that general health warnings cover up to 40 percent of a cigarette pack by September 2002.
Additionally governments could demand the packages carry pictures of a diseased mouth or cancerous lung or a specific warning about the dangers of second-hand smoke.
The law would also ban any reference to ``low tar,″ ``mild″ or ``light″ cigarettes _ terms seen as misleading.
The proposed measures follow the lead taken by Canada where graphic health warnings about tobacco use went into effect last month.
If approved the new regulations will go into effect Sept. 30, 2002, but manufacturers will have one year after that to implement the new rules.