New laws on tobacco products and vaping come into force

Published: 19 May 2017

Slough Borough Council’s trading standards team is warning local retailers they have until this weekend to comply with new laws on how tobacco products and e-cigarettes are manufactured, produced and sold.

New regulations concerning tobacco products, herbal products for smoking and electronic cigarettes came into force on 20 May 2016, but included a 12 month transitional period to allow retailers to sell off remaining stock.

These regulations include:
• Standardised “Plain” Packaging of Tobacco Products
• Regulations to implement the revised Tobacco Products Directive (Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016)

From Sunday 21 May all hand rolling tobacco and cigarettes that fail to meet plain packaging requirements will be breaking the law.

All tobacco packs sold in the UK must now meet the following standards:
• Graphic health warnings must cover 65% of the front and back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packets
• No branding other than the product name and brand variant in a standard font, size and colour
• The only colour permitted on the external pack is matt olive green
• All other trademarks, logos, colour schemes and graphics are banned
• Cigarette packs must contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes; roll-your-own tobacco pouches must contain a minimum of 30g of tobacco
• Tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels and other ingredient information must be removed from the outer packaging
• Any promotional descriptors such as references to flavours must be removed.

Menthol cigarettes are being phased out and will be removed from shop shelves by May 2020.

The new regulations also include changes on how e-cigarettes and e-liquids are manufactured, produced, marketed and sold.

Those changes include:
• All e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency before they can be sold
• Refillable tanks for e-cigarettes must be no larger than 2ml in capacity
• E-liquids cannot be sold in quantities greater than 10ml
• E-liquid packaging must be child-resistant and tamper evident
• Unless registered as a medicine, the strength of nicotine in an e-liquid must not exceed 20mg/ml
• Certain additives such as the stimulants caffeine and taurine or colourings are banned
• Tighter restrictions on the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes and refill containers
• New labelling requirements.

Failure to comply with the new laws could lead to up to 24 months in prison and an unlimited fine.

Councillor Arvind Dhaliwal, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “Our trading standards team has been working closely with local retailers over the past year, providing support and advice to ensure everyone is compliant with the new laws.

“We are pleased to see most stores working hard to meet the new regulations, which were put in place to stop young people from taking up smoking and to support adults who are trying to quit.

“I cannot stress the importance of compliance enough – our checks on local retailers will continue and we will be forced to take action against any businesses we find breaking the law.”

Business advice for retailers can be found on our website