Supreme Court Refuses Legal Challenge, Plain Packaging Compulsory

The European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive plain packaging policy will be compulsory from May 20, after the Supreme Court rejected permission for the tobacco industry to appeal the new regulations.

British American Tobacco Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International and Phillip Morris International have argued that the changes will violate their human and intellectual property rights.

Under the new Tobacco Products Directive, cigarettes will all be in dark brown packs with no branding. Two-thirds of the front and back surfaces on the new packets will contain health warnings, with written warnings on the side of the packaging.

To clear out old stock, cigarette companies were allowed another year to get rid of old cigarette packets. Tobacco manufacturers began their battle against cigarette packaging restrictions some time ago.

Smoking rates have drastically fallen in Britain over the last 41 years. In 1974, over half of male Brits smoked, but in 2015, just 19.1% did. And with women, 40% smoked in 1974, and now just 14.9% do.

Now that the plain packaging will be definitely implemented following the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the tobacco companies’ legal challenge, it remains to be seen what impact the changes will have on smoking rates.

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