Standardised or ‘plain’ packaging was introduced for tobacco products in May 2016. Branded packs will be completely removed from shops by May 2017. The decision to introduce plain packaging followed two lengthy consultation periods (2012 & 2014). The TMA is opposed to plain packaging on the basis that:
- There is little or no evidence that suggests plain packaging will increase the decline in smoking prevalence beyond existing trends in the current market;
- Evidence from Australia, the only market to have fully implemented it thus far, suggests that plain packaging has the potential to increase the consumption of illegal tobacco products;
- Evidence from the Australian review of plain packaging, which was delayed by two years, suggests that it failed to achieve the objectives expected by the Australian Government; and
- Plain packaging represents one of the biggest and most far-reaching attacks on intellectual property rights that any government has ever introduced.
The legislation can be found here and the DH guidance notice can be found here.