Trading Standards Remind Retailers of Tobacco and eCig Law Change

Monday 22 May

On the 20th May 2016 new regulations concerning tobacco products, herbal products for smoking and electronic cigarettes came into force. These regulations included:

  • The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015
  • The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016


Standardised packaging, also known as plain packaging, refers to packaging that has had the attractive promotional branding removed. All cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco packets will be in the same olive green colour.

The new rules on Tobacco

  • Prohibits cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours, except menthol flavour in cigarettes until 20th May 2020
  • Sets minimum contents for unit packs. Cigarette packs must contain at least 20 cigarettes and roll your own (hand rolled) tobacco packs must weigh at least 30 grams
  • Updates the health warnings, including general, information and picture warnings, on packages of tobacco. Combined (picture and text) health warnings must cover 65% of the front and back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packages
  • Bans certain promotional and misleading descriptors on packaging of tobacco products such as “lite”, “natural” and “organic”

The new rules on Electronic Cigarettes

  • Introduces a size limit for e-liquids of 10ml for dedicated refill containers and 2ml for disposable electronic cigarettes, cartridges and tanks
  • Requires products to be child and tamper proof
  • Requires the pack to include a health warning covering 30% of the surfaces of the unit packet and any outside packaging stating ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance’
  • Requires instructions for use, information on addictiveness and toxicity on the packaging and accompanying information leaflet
  • Bans certain promotional and misleading descriptors on packaging
  • Ensures that all substances contained in the product and information on the product’s nicotine content are declared on the label
  • Prohibits the advertising or promotion, directly or indirectly, of electronic cigarettes and re-fill containers on a number of media platforms, including on television, radio, newspapers and magazines


Local trading standards officers will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the law. A person who produces or supplies a tobacco product in breach of the Regulations is guilty of an offence and

  • If found guilty by a Magistrates Court a person could face a prison sentence of up to three months, or a fine or both
  • If found guilty by a Crown Court a person could face a prison sentence of up to two years, or a fine or both