UK government presses ahead with plain cigarette packaging

Friday, Jan 30, 2015

Cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco might be sold in standardised packs in the UK from May 2016.

UK Public Health Minister Jane Ellison confirmed on 21 January that the UK government backed the public health case for introducing the policy. Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will need to confirm whether they consent to the regulations applying to those parts of the UK. Ms. Ellison said, "I now propose that we lay regulations for standardised packaging in this parliament to allow for them to come into force at the same time as the European Tobacco Products Directive in May 2016."

The proposed regulations, published in draft form as part of the last consultation, would standardise the packaging of all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco for retail sale by specifying mandatory colours for retail packaging (dull brown for the outside and white for the inside), permitting only specified text (such as the brand and variant name) and making sure any permitted text conforms to particular requirements, allowing required markings such as health warnings and fiscal marks to remain in place.

According to the British media, MPs will be given a vote on whether to introduce the plain packaging regulation. Experts believe the measure is likely to become law because of backing from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and some Conservative MPs.


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