Stricter smoking laws to take effect in UK this weekend

19 May 2017


Smoking laws in the UK will change this weekend even as tobacco companies are in appeal court to block it. From 21 May it will be illegal to sell cigarettes in branded packets as also to sell packets of 10.

Tobacco companies were given a grace period when the law was decided last year to allow sellers to get rid of branded packets but that ended this weekend.

The changes in law will affect the sale of menthol cigarettes, vaping, rolling tobacco and more.

From 21 May cigarette packs will not bear any logos, promotional images or indications of the cigarette's flavour.

The packaging will be of a ''drab dark brown'', what the government called the ''world's ugliest colour''.

Sixty-five per cent of the packaging will be covered with health warnings, including graphic images such as tar stained lungs.

Even if sellers had some of the old packages left, it will be illegal to sell them after 21 May.

The same rules require all packs to have a ''minimum of 20 cigarettes''.

The idea of banning packs of 10 was to make purchasing cigarettes more expensive and discourage people from buying them.

Smokers will need to pay £9 a packet and it is hoped the steep price will keep younger people from wanting to give smoking a try.

The UK was the second country in the world to pass legislation on standardised packaging after Australia in 2012. Many countries followed, including France, Ireland, Hungary and Norway.

The chief executive of the Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) charity, Deborah Arnott, said: ''Getting rid of glitzy, heavily branded tobacco packs is the latest in a long line of achievements by the UK, which is a global leader in tobacco control, The Guardian reported. 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.''

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