As the UK has infamously existed the European Union (EU), the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, has amended the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products Regulations 2019 to include amendments pertaining to the requirements for picture warnings on tobacco packaging.
Picture warnings on tobacco packaging
Great Britain (GB)
Tobacco manufacturers must ensure that any tobacco products released in the GB market after 1 January 2021, must feature non-EU text warnings, as listed in the picture library in Schedule A1 to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, and the amended by the 2019 Regulations.
Northern Ireland (NI)
The situation will be slightly more complex in Northern Ireland. Since NI borders with the Republic of Ireland (which remains in the EU), and unlike the latter, it is part of the UK (a fact that has been the cause of significant unrest throughout the years), NI will continue to follow many of the EU’s rules in order to avoid any possible tensions. This will mean that new checks will be introduced on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
To this effect NI must continue to comply with the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) requirements, which include the use of the EU picture warnings. However, manufacturers supplying products from NI to GB will need to ensure these products carry the GB warnings as listed in the picture library in Schedule A1 to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (as amended by the 2019 Regulations).
Sell-through period for products featuring EU pictures
The Withdrawal Agreement allows the continued supply of tobacco products that were lawfully placed on the market in the UK before1 January 2021. The Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, has been amended to remove the 12-month sell-through deadline. This means that any products on the market featuring the EU pictures that were produced and first supplied on the UK market before 1 January 2021, are allowed to remain on the market until they reach their end-user.