1.Countdown to 20th May 2016:

Changes to tobacco regulations

May 2016

On the 20th May 2016 new regulations concerning tobacco products, herbal products for smoking and electronic cigarettes will come into force. These regulations include:

• Standardised “Plain” Packaging of Tobacco Products

• Regulations to implement the revised Tobacco Products Directive (Tobacco and Related Products

Regulations 2016)

Standardised Packaging

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 20th May 2016 across the UK.

Transitional period

Whilst all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco products manufactured for sale in the UK must comply with these regulations from 20th May 2016, there is a one year transitional period for the sell-through of old stock. From 21st May 2017 all tobacco products on sale in the UK must comply with these regulations.


This means that the appearance of all cigarettes and hand rolling packs will be standardised. This includes:

• The material, size, shape and opening mechanism of packaging;

• The colour of packaging and cigarettes;

• The font, colour, size, case and alignment of text.


2 – Countdown to 20th May 2016: Changes to tobacco regulations

Tobacco Products Directive (TPD)

In February 2014 the EU agreed a revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The TPD strengthens the rules on how tobacco products are manufactured, produced and presented in the EU. It also includes a number of regulations regarding electronic cigarettes, herbal products for smoking and smokeless tobacco products.

Except where otherwise stated, the TPD will be transposed into domestic law and implemented on 20th May 2016 by virtue of the Tobacco and Regulated Products Regulations 2016.


The TPD imposes a number of new or updated regulations. Except where an additional transitional period exists, the TPD will come into effect on 20th May 2016 and will:

Prohibit cigarettes • and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours, including but not limited to fruit, spice, herbs, alcohol, candy, or vanilla. There is an additional transition period for the prohibition of menthol flavour in cigarettes until 20th May 2020.

• Set minimum contents for unit packs. Cigarette packs must contain at least 20 cigarettes and roll your own (hand rolled) tobacco packs must weigh at least 30 grams.

• Update the health warnings, including general, information and picture warnings, on packages of tobacco. Combined (picture and text) health warnings must cover 65% of the front and back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packages. The TPD also allows Member States to go further, through, for example, implementing standardised packaging legislation, as is the case in the UK, France and Ireland.

• Ban certain promotional and misleading descriptors on packaging of tobacco products such as “lite”, “natural” and “organic”.

• Introduce EU-wide tracking and tracing to combat illicit trade of tobacco products, following an additional transitional period until 20th May 2019 for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco, and 20th May 2024 for all other tobacco products.



• Introduce new labelling and reporting requirements for novel tobacco products and herbal products for smoking.

Additional transitional periods

Menthol cigarettes will be given an additional four year phase-out period before they are banned outright on 20th May 2020.


Electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes which contain up to 20 mg per ml of nicotine will be regulated by the TPD as consumer products . Zero nicotine products are not included in the TPD. Products containing over 20mg per ml of nicotine will need to have a medicinal licence.

From 20th May 2016 advertising, promotion or sponsorship of electronic cigarettes and re-fill containers will be prohibited on most media platforms, including on the internet, television, radio.

3 – Countdown to 20th May 2016: Changes to tobacco regulations

The new product rules under the TPD for electronic cigarettes will:

Introduce a size limit for e-liquids of • 10ml for dedicated refill containers and 2ml for disposable electronic cigarettes, cartridges and tanks.

• Require products to be child and tamper proof.

• Require the pack to include a health warning covering 30% of the surfaces of the unit packetand any outside packaging stating ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.’

• Require instructions for use, information on addictiveness and toxicity on the packaging and accompanying information leaflet.

• Ban certain promotional and misleading descriptors on packaging.

• Ensure that all substances contained in the product and information on the product’s nicotine content are declared on the label.



• Prohibit the advertising or promotion, directly or indirectly, of electronic cigarettes and re-fill containers on a number of media platforms, including on television, radio, newspapers and magazines;

Transitional periods

There are transitional arrangements for the implementation of electronic cigarette product regulations.

In the UK electronic cigarettes or refill containers which are not in compliance with the TPD can be released for sale on the UK market until 20th November 2016. From 20th May 2017 all products sold to consumers must be fully compliant with the TPD.