• May 19, 2024

Be afraid, be very afraid

 Be afraid, be very afraid

The UK Government is moving the country on to a no-deal Brexit footing even though it says it believes a no-deal ‘scenario’ is unlikely.
It is issuing a series of ‘technical notices’ setting out ‘information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a “no-deal” scenario, so they can make informed plans and preparations’.
One such notice provides ‘information to organizations, businesses and members of the public concerned with tobacco and related products, regarding changes to the regulation of such products in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the European Union (EU) in March 2019 with no agreement in place’. The notice does not include tax issues, however.
Some of the UK laws that regulate tobacco products and e-cigarettes implement the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU and the Tobacco Advertising Directive 2003/33/EC, as well as a number of delegated and implementing acts made under the Tobacco Products Directive.
EU-derived policy and legislation regarding tobacco and related products cover areas including:

  • control of sale of products
  • advertising
  • product standards (such as ingredients of products and their emissions)
  • and packaging.

The Tobacco Products Directive also sets reporting requirements for tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Manufacturers must submit specified information on ingredients and emissions for products before they are placed on the market.
‘If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, the Tobacco Products Directive and the Tobacco Advertising Directive would no longer directly apply to the UK,’ according to a note at GOV.UK.
‘The UK domestic law that implements these directives, such as the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, would remain in force, with minor amendments to ensure it still works effectively after EU exit. These amendments would be brought in through regulations made under the EU (Withdrawal) Act powers and would come into force on exit day.
‘The amendments to UK tobacco legislation would include giving the UK government the power to update the legislation in response to emerging threats, changing safety and quality standards, and technological advances. These updating powers are likely to have minimal impact on industry. Their purpose is to make sure that the UK is still able to make technical changes after we leave the EU, where needed.’
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Government says it would:

  • ‘Create new domestic systems to allow producers to notify tobacco products and e-cigarettes in accordance with existing rules. Manufacturers will need to submit information on the new systems for any new products that they wish to sell in the UK.
  • ‘Introduce new picture warnings for tobacco products as the copyright for the existing picture library is owned by the European Commission. Manufacturers will need to ensure that tobacco products which include picture warnings produced from Exit Day onwards will be labelled with the new picture warnings.’

The notice said the Government would be consulting on the technical details of both these issues in September ‘to ensure that changes are simple and effective, to minimise the burden of any changes’.
‘Inevitably, under a “no-deal” scenario the close working relationships that exist with our European partners would not be the same,’ the notice added. ‘The UK will, of course, continue to play an active role in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.’
The Government says that further information on new systems for notification and picture warnings will be provided as part of the consultation and when the new legislation is introduced.