Miércoles, 22 Noviembre, 2017

New cigarettes packaging rules due to come into force

Galeno Paniagua | 19 May, 2017, 20:43

All cigarettes must be solid in standardised packaging from Sunday, as rules created to prevent young people taking up the habit come in to full effect.

Every pack must contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes to ensure enough space is given for health warnings to cover 65 per cent of the front and back.

Packaging of hand-rolled tobacco must also be in the same drab green colour and pouches must contain a minimum of 30g of tobacco.

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), said that overall, the United Kingdom is one of the countries with the fastest declining proportion of smokers, but rates among the most disadvantaged remain high.

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable early death, and 100,000 people in the United Kingdom die every year from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

But smokers' group Forest said the new regulations "infantilise" consumers and "treat adults like naughty children".

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Every year in the United Kingdom around 200,000 children start smoking - enough to fill 6,900 classrooms.

Why has standardised packaging become the law?

"On banning small packs, which are particularly popular in the United Kingdom, independent research confirmed that such a move will cost the Treasury £2.1 billion in the first year, costing 11,190 jobs whilst even those in public health agree that it will lead to people smoking more, not less, tobacco".

A review of evidence of standardised packaging carried out by the University of Stirling's Institute for Social Marketing found standard packs are less appealing.

How and when did the new law come about?

The regulations became law this time past year but companies have had 12 months to sell old stock and fully implement the changes under the directive, which was adopted in 2014 but was held up by a series of court cases testing its legality.

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The tobacco industry challenged both the Tobacco Products Directive through the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and standardised packaging regulations through the United Kingdom courts.

After years of campaigning and repeated court challenges by the industry, the European Union tobacco products directive allowed the United Kingdom to go further with its regulations.

In May previous year the ECJ ruled that the directive was lawful, and days later the industry's legal challenge to standardised packaging was defeated in the United Kingdom courts.

Standardised packaging regulations, which is a United Kingdom initiative, comes into full effect on Sunday, while the rules governing minimum pack sizes and e-cigarettes are in force from Saturday.

In a series of questions put to consumers over the last five months as the new measures were being phased in, the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association (TMA) has tracked the impact of these regulations on smoker behaviour and found a growth in people buying from non-UK duty paid sources.

The directive extends to e-cigarettes, restricting tank sizes to no more than 2ml and the nicotine strength of liquids to no more than 20mg/ml, and there must be a 30% health warning on the front and back reading: "This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance".

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