New plain packaging laws for tobacco products have gone into effect in Ireland, though it will be a while before the bland new look for cigar boxes completely overtake store shelves.
According to a guidance document issued by the country’s department of health, existing stock of traditionally packaged tobacco products which were marketed and put into sale before the change went into effect on Sept. 30 can continue to be sold until Sept. 30, 2018.
In the case of cigars, which fall under the header of other tobacco products, the external surface of cigar boxes must have a Pantone 448 C color with a matte finish. Internal surfaces must be either white or Pantone 448 C. Additionally, tax stamps and other items required by law will be permitted.
What will not be allowed are any marks or trademarks, decorative ridges or embossing, any colored or non-transparent adhesives, or any inserts or onserts.
However, boxes will be allowed to display a brand name and a variant name, though it is limited to a 14 point font for the main name and 10 point font for the variant name, and it must be in Helvetica font usage Pantone Cool Gray 2C with matte finish. Additionally, it is permitted just one on the front, top, and bottom of the box for cuboid packs, and only twice for other shaped packaging. Only the first letter can be capitalized, the text must be centered and limited to one line, and the variant name must appear immediately below the brand name.
Additionally, a bar code is allowed, as is a resealing tab, the weight or number of cigars in the box, and the word “cigars” or “cigarillos”
As for the cigars themselves, a standardised cigar band which covers the non-compliant band must be added and is allowed to indicate the country of origin, though it too gets relegated to a single line of no-bigger-than 10 point Helvetica font in Pantone Cool Gray 2C.
The department of health describes the move to plain packaging as a means to decrease the appeal of tobacco products, increase the effectiveness of health warnings on tobacco packaging, and reduce the ability of the packaging of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking.