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Selling Tobacco

If you sell tobacco in your store, there a number of regulations that you need to comply with. This guide details your requirements under the Tobacco Display Ban regulations, the UK Standardised Packaging Regulations  and the EU Revised Tobacco Products Directive.

Standardised Packaging

On 20 May 2016, the European Union Revised Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) and the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Regulations 2015 came into effect.

•  Requires all tobacco packaging to be a standard dull brown colour with a matt finish.
•  Permit only specified text (such as the brand and variant name) in Helvetica plain font.
•  Bans the sale of price marked packs. 
•  Allow required markings such as health warnings  and fiscal marks to remain  on packaging.

Tobacco Display Ban

The law on the display of all products containing tobacco and the display of tobacco prices changed in April 2015 for small stores. It is illegal to display tobacco products in shops and businesses in England, except to people over the age of 18 in the limited circumstances set out in the law. These rules came into force for larger stores in 2012.

It is now illegal to display tobacco products in the relevant shops and businesses in England and Wales, except to people over the age of 18 years in the limited circumstances set out in the new law.

Non-compliance with the new law is a criminal offence. Any person, including shop managers and shop assistants, found guilty of these offences is liable.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Tobacco Display Ban Regulations can be viewed here.

EU Revised Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU)

The tobacco ‘track and trace’ regulations are part of the EU Revised Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU). The UK Government are in the process of introducing the ‘track and trace’ provisions of the Directive into UK law. These regulations will come into effect on 20th May 2019.

If the UK leave the EU with a deal, the current UK and EU track and trace legislation will still apply and access to the EU Secondary Repository to record and upload the movement of tobacco products will be retained.

If the UK leave the EU with no deal, the government will suspend the current track and trace system as the UK will lose its access to the Secondary Repository and businesses would be unable to record and upload the movement of tobacco products.

The government would work towards developing a standalone UK track and trace scheme to be implemented as quickly as possible.

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