Staffordshire traders are being reminded that all tobacco products must be sold in plain packaging from May 20.
The reminder has been issued by Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team, which has been working with businesses advising them on the new legislation since it was introduced in May last year. From May 2016, new tobacco products had to be plain packaged, while businesses have been able to clear older stock over the year.
Plain packaging laws form part of a raft of legislation introduced recently to reduce the amount of new smokers across the UK.
From May 20, all tobacco products must be plain dark green, with health warnings and graphic health warning images. MPs voted in favour of the new laws in March 2015 year following agreement to bring in legislation which prohibits tobacco from being on public display in shops. In 2012 the law came into force in large stores and supermarkets and extended to shops of all sizes in April 2014.
Plain packs are also standardised, meaning the size, pack design, font type and font size are the same. In addition, the European Tobacco Directives (ETD) will require all cigarettes to only be sold in packs of 20 and hand rolling tobacco only sold in 30 gram packs. Misleading descriptions such as ‘lite’ and ‘natural’ will be prohibited.
Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:
The introduction of plain tobacco packaging is another measure to prevent young people from starting smoking and follows on from the display ban. We know that making tobacco less attractive looking and less visible does have an impact. Consumers have seen a gradual phasing in of the new packets and we are just reminding traders that there should be no branded packs on sale after May 20. No business should be selling branded tobacco packs after this date. Our trading standards team have been working with businesses and reminding people of this change since their introduction in May 2016. We’re confident this can have a real positive impact on public health in Staffordshire.”
Public Health England figures show that 45 people a day die of cardiovascular disease caused by smoking – over 16,500 a year in England. In the West Midlands, nearly 16% of adults still smoke. Currently 15.7% of adults in the West Midlands region smoke – which is just below the England average of 16.9%