Anti-tobacco campaigners, including charities such as Cancer Research UK, last week celebrated the introduction of plain-packaged cigarettes and a new minimum pack size.
Legislation took affect on Friday 20 May, meaning tobacco manufacturers must now sell their products in plain packs, with simple, standardised fonts, and health warnings on the top and side.
Cigarettes will now also be sold in a minimum pack size of 20 and tobacco in pouches of at least 30g, with retailers given 12 months to sell off old stock.
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “The introduction of standard packs marks an important milestone in our efforts to reduce the devastating toll that tobacco exerts on so many families every day.
“It’s the beginning of the end for packaging that masks a deadly and addictive product”.
Health warnings on packs will also be made larger, while the font used for branding, the shape and method of opening packs, and the size of cigarettes will be standardised across the industry.
The UK is joined by France to become one of three countries to have the legislation, following on from Australia where plain packaging has been mandatory since 2012.
Ms Bullock added: “Australia’s experience has shown that standard packaging help reduce youth smoking rates.
“We look forward to a tobacco free generation which won’t be scarred by this lethal addiction”.
The Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association said they were ‘disappointed with the outcome of the ruling’, and claimed the policy did not have the effects campaigners claimed.
Further changes include the banning of flavoured cigarettes, such as menthols, from 2020, and new regulations planned for e-cigarette manufacturers.