Staffordshire traders are being reminded that all tobacco products must be sold in plain packaging from May 20 2017.
Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team has issued the reminder as Public Health England launches a campaign to highlight the damaging effect smoking has on the heart. 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. Traders will have had a year to phase out old stock with variant colour brands. 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 2017. Our trading standards team have been working with businesses and reminding people of this change since the introduction of plain packaging in May 2016. We’re confident this can have a real positive impact on public health in Staffordshire.”
Today Public Health England has revealed 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%