Yesterday, the United Kingdom Department of Health (DH) launched a public consultation period regarding the latest plain packaging proposals for tobacco products. Formally titled, “Consultation on the introduction of regulations for standardised packaging of tobacco products,” it invites members of the British public to voice their opinions regarding plain packaging for tobacco products, a proposal in the works since 2012.
Not present in the current consultation is a requirement for “specialist tobacco products”—which includes both cigars and pipes, meaning they will be exempt and unique packaging for the products will almost certainly continue. DH cited a myriad of evidence that suggested that not only were smoking rates of cigars and pipes lower than cigarettes, but it was particularly reduced in younger age groups.
The formal language reads as follows:
5.12 We propose that standardised packaging not apply to specialist tobacco products at this point, given their low rates of use, particularly by young people. Regulations for standardised packaging could be extended to specialist tobacco products in the future, if necessary. For example, if the tobacco market changes and young people become increasingly attracted to these types of tobacco.
There is a small chance the DH could reverse its decision in response to public comments, which are due by Aug. 7, but that outcome is considered highly unlikely and retailers in the U.K. have already begun celebrating the exemption.
Common sense has prevailed and cigars and pipe tobacco will be excluded from standardized packaging regulations. #relieved !
— Mitchell Orchant (@Cgarsltd) June 27, 2014
In 2012, Australia became the first country to implement plain packaging requirements. Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and other have filed formal complaints against the measure with the World Trade Organization. Other countries like Canada, Ireland and New Zealand have also considered the measure.