Major EU overhaul on smoking laws comes into force today

Avatar photo

By Katie King on

Say goodbye to 10 packs and menthols


Smokers listen up: an EU law directive comes into force today, and it’s going to dramatically change Brits’ access to tobacco.

The EU has pulled no punches with this one. From today, cigarette companies will no longer be able to produce cigarettes in packs of 10. Small bags (less than 30g) of tobacco used for rollies will also be banned.

Cigarette packaging must now be totally bland and standardised. That means same colour, same font and same opening mechanism. At least 60% of the packaging must be covered by health warnings. Cigarette companies have sought to challenge this, but yesterday lost their battle in the High Court. JTI, a UK tobacco company, intends to appeal against the decision.

Companies will have a year to ensure these changes are fully implemented. And come 2020, all tobacco with “a characterising flavour” will be banned too, meaning no more menthols.

It’s younger people — law students and young lawyers included — that will be hardest hit by the reforms.

Smoking is particularly prevalent in teenagers and young adults: it is believed that about 20% of 16-19 year-olds and 26% of 20-24 year-olds smoke. The hope is that today’s changes mean the next generation will be dissuaded from taking up the habit, and this will make our country healthier.

First a crackdown on legal highs and now a total tobacco industry overhaul, we’re not sure how students and other young people will react to this one.