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Plain Cigarette Packaging Introduced

May 23, 2016
Public Health

Plain cigarette packs were introduced from Friday 20th after a last minute attempt to block the progress of the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 was dismissed.

Tobacco companies Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International had challenged the legality of the new law but in his ruling Mr Justice Green said; “The essence of the case is about whether it is lawful for states to prevent the tobacco industry from continuing to make profits by using their trademarks and other rights to further what the World Health Organisation describes as a health crisis of epidemic proportions and which imposes an immense clean-up cost on the public purse.”

All packs must now contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes ensuring they are big enough to display the required health warning, which must cover 65% of the front and back with brand names restricted to a standard font and colour. Menthol cigarettes will be phased out by 2020, while there are new requirements in respect of the strength of liquids used in e-cigarettes and herbal products which will be phased in over the next 12 months.

It is hoped the new laws will cut the number of smokers across the EU by 2.4 million; it is estimated that approximately 600 children aged between 11 and 15 still take up the habit in the UK every day. Researchers claim that standardised packaging will make cigarettes less appealing and help to reinforce health messages which were first introduced on packs in 1971.