Standardised cigarette packs come in to force

20 May 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

Cigarettes in an ashtray

Our Chief Executive has today welcomed the introduction of standardised cigarette packaging, following many years of campaigning by the BHF and other leading health organisations.

From this weekend, cigarettes must be sold in standardised green packaging carrying graphic warnings of the dangers of smoking, with brand names printed in a standard font and colour.

The measures also mean that packs must contain at least 20 cigarettes to make sure they are big enough for health warnings to cover 65% of the front and back.

The introduction has been planned since March 2015, when MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of introducing regulations to standardise the appearance of all tobacco packaging in the UK. However the rollout has been delayed by unsuccessful legal challenges by the tobacco industry to stop the policy.  

The UK was only the second country in the world to pass legislation on standardised packaging after Australia in 2012, with many others following on, including France, Ireland, Hungary and Norway.        

‘A monumental step’

Our Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, today welcomed the move: “The introduction of standardised cigarette packaging is a hard fought victory for campaigners that will protect the heart health of future generations. Research has shown that glitzy cigarette packaging attracts new smokers, and putting an end to it is another monumental step in preventing people taking up this deadly habit.”

“Despite recent declines in smoking rates, around one in five adults in the UK still smoke, significantly increasing their risk of a heart attack or stroke. We need to keep up the momentum in creating the policies and support services that will give UK smokers the best chance to quit.” 

Leading cause of preventable death

Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked. But the good news is that is that the risk to your heart health decreases significantly soon after you stop.

Get help to quit smoking