Different Packaging Rules After Brexit

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Manufacturers selling tobacco products in the United Kingdom must comply with two sets of health warnings in the wake of the country’s departure from the European Union.

Cigarettes sold in Northern Ireland must continue to bear the warnings prescribed by the EU Tobacco Products Directive. There are three sets of pictures that are rotated on an annual basis starting on May 20 and ending on May 19.

Manufacturers selling in Great Britain must ensure that products placed on market after Jan. 1, 2021, feature one of the text warnings with the corresponding color photograph listed in the picture library in Schedule A1 to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 as amended by the 2019 Regulations, according to the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care.

There is one set of pictures and no rotations between sets.

The U.K.-EU withdrawal agreement allows the continued supply of tobacco products that were lawfully placed on the market in the U.K. before Jan 1, 2021.

Through the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, regulation 9 of the 2019 Regulations has been amended to remove the 12-month sell-through deadline.

The regulation allows products featuring the EU pictures that were produced and first supplied on the U.K. market before Jan. 1, 2021, to remain on the market until they reach their end-user.

The diverging packaging requirements for Great Britain and Northern Ireland have prompted cigarette manufacturers to reevaluate their portfolios.

In December, Imperial Brands said it would likely shrink its portfolio in Northern Ireland due to Brexit.