Cigarettes Will Now Come In Standard Packaging In The UK

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The United Kingdom has set some new rules on how cigarettes and tobacco products are to be packaged – they must now be sold in plain green packs and must carry graphic health warnings. In addition, there is a maximum of 10 packets.

The move is meant to discourage young people form taking up smoking, the BBC reports. Health advocates have lauded the move, especially since the number of smokers in the country continues to drop. However, a smokers’ group argues that these changes “infantilize” customers and will not really make a difference when it comes to public health.

These changes are part of an effort to “deglamorize” smoking.

The new mandatory green packaging are standard, and must now carry larger health warnings on the two-thirds of the front and back of any pack, along with a graphic photo.

Other measures include having the brand name in a standard typeface, and no more “misleading” labels such as “organic” or “low tar” with regards to the product. There is also a minimum pack size of 20 cigarettes.

Some experts have called this brownish-green hue “the ugliest color in the world.”

There are new restrictions placed on e-cigarettes, flavored cigarettes and rolling tobacco, as well. The measures were introduced last year, but retailers have been given some time to get rid of their old stock.

Hazel Cheeseman, a spokesperson from Action on Smoking and Health, said that this form of packaging is a “form of advertising,” and that cigarette companies have called this “their silent salesman,” so the standard green packets are very much welcome. Cheeseman added, “Branding and advertising is one of the things that helps to recruit young people into smoking. So removing the branding features, making the health warnings bigger and more prominent, is intended to protect young people from taking up smoking in the future.”

On the other hand, smokers’ rights group like Forest have said that these moves “treat adults like naughty children.” Simon Clark, the director, said, “Adults and even teenagers are under no illusions about the health risks of smoking. Consumers don’t need larger health warnings to tell them what they already know.”

Around 17% of the UK adult population smokes, surveys show.

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