New Extreme EU Tobacco Laws Come Into Force on May 20

May 19, 2016, 02:30 ET from JTI (Japan Tobacco International)

GENEVA, May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

From May 20, extreme rules on tobacco come into force across Europe - a package of some of the strictest anti-tobacco measures in the world. Under the long-debated new Brussels Tobacco Products Directive, brands will be further reduced as the EU moves to restrict packaging designs and formats.

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"This is an attack on adult consumers' freedom of choice and yet another example of extreme regulation," says Ben Townsend, JTI's EU Affairs Vice-President.

All tobacco products will now be covered with large pictorial health warnings that take up the majority of the pack surface - dramatically reducing the space available for product information to consumers and brand designs.

Many pack formats have also been banned under the false pretext that this will drive smoking levels lower. This includes an immediate ban on smaller pack and pouch sizes that will force consumers to buy larger formats, and therefore spend more money. The Directive will also outlaw menthol cigarettes from 2020.

"The measures in the Directive are so complex that regulators in many EU countries have struggled to draft the national laws it requires - leaving everyone confused in a last-minute scramble to comply ahead of the deadline", he concludes.

Politicians in Europe are going into direct battle with smokers who will see the new packs for the first time this month.

What's in the Directive? 

  • Enlarged graphic health warnings plastered over packaging (extended to 65% on each side)
  • Complete ban on menthol cigarettes (by 2020)
  • Ban on small packs (below 20 cigarettes) and hand-rolling tobacco pouch sizes (below 30g)
  • New controls on e-cigarettes - regulated EU-wide for the first time

JTI, a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, is a leading international tobacco manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands such as Winston, Camel, Mevius and LD. Other global brands include Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie and Glamour. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and about 26,000 employees worldwide, JTI has operations in more than 120 countries. Its core revenue in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, was USD 10.3 billion. For more information, visit

SOURCE JTI (Japan Tobacco International)