New EU Tobacco Law

A new EU law has been introduced that will change the way people buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.


Tobacco companies have been ordered to sell cigarettes with the labeling on the packaging constrained to an average size, font and colour.

All cigarette packs must contain at least 20 cigarettes to certify their size as well as health warnings to cover 65 per cent of the front and back of the packs.

The influence of the law goes further in the UK as all packs must also be a dull green with large images that underline the detrimental effects of smoking.

Additionally, menthol cigarettes will now discontinue gradually ahead of a total ban in 2020 following promotional statements such as, “this product is free of additives” or “is less harmful than other brands.”

Dr Penny Woods, British Lung Foundation chief executive said: “For too long glitzy, cleverly designed packaging has lured young people into smoking, a habit that takes the lives of half of all long-term smokers.”

“Australia introduced plain packaging in 2012 and has already seen a decline in smoking rates. If just a fraction of the 200,000 children in the UK who start smoking a year are discouraged, thousands of lives will be saved.”

The widespread hope is that this law will decrease the number of smokers across the EU by 2.4 million.

Smoking in the UK causes around 100,000 premature deaths with a further 600,000 across Europe.

It also costs the NHS £2.7 billion and the broader British economy an extra £2.5 billion in sick leave and lost productivity, according to the British Medical Association.

In May 2015, leading tobacco companies such as Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco propelled a legal appeal describing the new rules as “disproportionate”.

The corporations subsequently lost the last-minute encounter in the High Court against the UK Government’s packaging rules.

Simon Clark, the director of the smokers’ group “Forest” said: “the new packaging rules treat adults like children and teenagers like idiots.”

He added: “Everyone knows the health risks of smoking and no-one starts because of the packaging.”

“Australia was the first country to introduce standardised packaging and it hasn’t worked. There is no evidence to suggest that smoking rates have fallen among children or adults as a result of the policy.

“Plain packaging is a declaration of war on consumers because the aim is to de-normalise not just the product but also the millions of adults who enjoy smoking and don’t want to quit.”

In Australia, where the measure was initiated in 2012, smoking rates decreased by more than 12 per cent between December 2013 and 2014.


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