Brexit Claims First Cigarette Brands

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Imperial Brands will reduce its range of products in Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit, reports The Grocer.

Northern Ireland will remain under EU legislation, making it subject to the EU rules requiring pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging. Tobacco manufacturers would have to produce separate products for Northern Ireland and Great Britain to comply with these laws.

“Due to the smaller volumes, it is likely that there will be a significant reduction to the product range for NI [Northern Ireland] accounts, final range still to be confirmed,” Imperial said in a letter to wholesalers.

“We continue to plan and prepare for different Brexit scenarios, which includes a range of different regulatory requirements across the U.K.,” said an Imperial spokesperson. “We continue to work closely with our customers on the potential changes and would encourage them to speak to their account manager if they have any questions.”

Brexit is likely to impact the nicotine business in several ways. Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Bath argued that withdrawing from the EU offered Britain new opportunities to strengthen tobacco control.

Meanwhile, vapor advocates are hoping that breaking with EU rules will allow the U.K. to continue and even strengthen its comparatively permissive policies on e-cigarettes.

Earlier this year, Tobacco Reporter contributor Clive Bates examined the impact of Brexit on the tobacco and vapor businesses in-depth.