Cigarette packaging gets a make-under as plain boxes become standard

Tobacco companies will all face branding restrictions, and logos will be advertised in the same standard font and colour and size across all United Kingdom packages.

All packs must contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes to allow enough box space for the newly enlarged warnings, and hand-rolled tobacco pouches must also contain a minimum of 30g of tobacco.

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.

The NHS could create savings of £67m per year if the number of people who smoked was cut down to 5% by 2035, a new study has claimed.

Nearly one in five (19%) adults in Scotland smokes cigarettes, and the habit is responsible for 13,500 deaths in the country each year, according to Cancer Research UK.

Standardised packs will help protect the next generation from an addiction that kills around two thirds of all long term smokers“.

The standardised packaging roll-out was introduced in Australia in 2012, and surveys showed that the prevalence of smoking among adults fell by 15 per cent in the second half of 2013.

Stricter cigarette packaging rules are coming into force in the United Kingdom starting this weekend, in a fresh bid to put people off smoking.

While the law to standardise packaging was brought in last May, shops were given a year to sell off old stock and get ready for the changes.

E-cigarettes must now be child resistant, and tank sizes can be no more than 2ml with the nicotine strength of liquids no more than 20mg/ml.

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.

In May past 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. “It causes at least 14 types of cancer and so this measure, to remove the branding, colours and misleading descriptions from tobacco packs, is a momentous milestone in the battle for a tobacco-free future”.

“We now have among the fastest declining smoking rates in the world thanks to decades of sound policy, but smoking rates among the poorest and most disadvantaged remain high”.

“If this is to change then a priority for the next Government must be to publish a new tobacco control plan with tough new targets, focused on tackling health inequalities”.

However smokers’ group Forest argues the new laws treat British tobacco consumers like “naughty children” and would make no difference to public health.

“The new regulations are a disgraceful attempt to denormalise both the product and legitimate consumers”.

“These measures were introduced not based on evidence or hard fact but on the dogma of various health lobby groups”.