Public health experts at Cumbria County Council have welcomed laws that will come into force from 20 May 2016, which mean cigarettes made for sale in the UK will have to be sold in drab green packaging with dramatic visual health warnings.
Standardised packaging, also known as plain packaging, refers to packaging that has had the attractive promotional branding removed. In March 2015 MPs voted for standardised tobacco packaging regulations which will be implemented from 20 May 2016 across the UK. The new packs are required under the Standardised Packaging Regulations, secondary legislation under the Children and Families Act 2014.
This means that the appearance of all cigarettes and hand rolling packs will be standardised, including:
- The material, size, shape and opening mechanism of packaging;
- The colour of packaging and cigarettes;
- The font, colour, size, case and alignment of text.
Whilst all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco products manufactured for sale in the UK must comply with these regulations from 20 May 2016, there is a one year transitional period for the sell-through of old stock. From 21 May 2017 all tobacco products on sale in the UK must comply with these regulations.
Local trading standards officers will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the law.
Cllr Ian Stewart, the county council’s Cabinet member for Public Health, said: “We’ve long had concerns that cigarette packs can be attractive and misleading, especially to children. These new laws are a vital step forward in ensuring future generations are protected from the dangers of smoking.”
Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “This is a proud moment for public health in the fight to reduce smoking prevalence. Many of us have worked on this for a number of years.
“The percentage of young people smoking in Cumbria has steadily and dramatically decreased since 2003, which is a trend that we are delighted about. These new laws can only help contribute to this decline and ultimately cut the risks associated with smoking, saving more lives.”