Fears about the impact of EU rules on tobacco regulations have come true and the minimum size for hand-rolling pouches will be set at 30g.
The EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has also decreed cigarette packs of less than 20 will be banned, and that 65% of packaging must be covered in graphic health warnings in a ramping up of tobacco restrictions.
It is estimated that the convenience retail industry could lose £561m in turnover and 2,000 jobs as a result of the restrictions.
Imperial Tobacco branded the announcement “extremely disappointing”, especially with the Government due to hold a further review on plain packaging.
E-cigarettes were granted a reprieve of sorts after the European Parliament rejected proposals to regulate them as medicines.
However, the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association has warned that regulations as currently drafted on the contents of sealed units and testing procedures would be impossible for many suppliers to meet. Despite this, the industry remains bullish.
E-Lites legal and corporate affairs director Charles Hamshaw-Thomas said: “2014 can be the year industry and regulators come together to realise the enormous public health benefits afforded by e-cigarettes.”
The amended TPD is now subject to a further vote in April.