Plain cigarette packaging introduced - A guide into the new rules
26th May 2016
smokingIt is now almost a week since the new smoking legislation came into force in Britain, but what are the changes implemented and exactly does it mean you may ask? From May 20, cigarettes are now being sold in green-coloured standardised, plain cigarette packaging depicting graphic warnings showing the grave health dangers emanating from smoking. These new rules are mainly aimed at helping to prevent youngsters from picking up the habit. In a report compiled by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) published in July 2015, it was claimed that around 207,000 children in the UK start smoking each year, with an estimated two-thirds taking up smoking prior to turning 18 and over 80% before the age of 20. ASH also say there’s around 10million smokers in the UK and a further 2.6million are using e-cigarettes. However, new rules coming into play under the Tobacco and Regulated Products Regulations 2016 will look at getting more people to stop smoking, reducing the number of nicotine addicts by about 2.4million. Changes will affect all cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco and e-cigarettes manufactured for sale across Britain. All products had to adhere to the regulations from May 20, however retailers have been given a one-year transitional period whilst old stock in sold. Smokers going into their local shop for a packet of Marlboro cigarettes will no longer be able to spot the famous red and white packaging, but will now be faced with every brand bearing an identical olive-green colour, opening and font styles. ‘lipstick-style’ packs targeted at women, such as Vogue cigarettes, are also now forbidden, with at least 65% of the packaging being covered with public health warnings, graphic photos and text clearly showing the horrendous effects that smoking can do to the human body. It isn’t just the packaging that has been hit hard…Promotional material will now no longer be able to utilise misleading descriptive words like “lite”, “natural” or “organic”. Statements such as “free of additives” and “less harmful than other brands” have also been outlawed. Quantity has also been affected with the new changes, with all packs having to contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes so there is sufficient space on the packing itself to display all the health warnings. Moreover, small bags of rolling tobacco will also be banned. Pouches now have to weigh at least 30g, whilst the current smallest pouch size is 8g. Menthol cigarette smokers will be devastated to learn that flavoured cigs are being eradicated, becoming completely illegal by May 20 2020. Other flavours set to go in the next four years include fruit, spice, herbs, alcohol, candy and vanilla. Presently, there is no limits with regards to refill container size, but this is now consigned to the past. Containers will be capped at 10ml and 2ml for disposable e-cigarettes, cartridges and tanks. This will undoubtedly impact the price of the containers as e-cig users can no longer purchase in bulk. Also, the highest strength of a vile of vaping liquid will now be 20mg per ml of nictotine, dropping from 24mg. E-cigarette packing will also be forced to change. About 30% of the packet has to have the warning: “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.” As vaping liquid can be dangerous if ingested, e-cigarettes now have to be childproof and tamper-proof.