Numerous tobacco packaging measures cost UK convenience stores 2,000 jobs

Cigarette packs of less than 20 will be banned under EU law, along with pouches of rolling tobacco weighing less than 30g.

Other measures included in the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, announced today (December 18), include mandatory health warnings to cover 65% of the pack with pictures positioned at the top.

A report published by Oxford Economics in November estimated that convenience retailers would lose at least £516m in turnover and 2,000 jobs as a result on restricting pack sizes.

Critics say the packaging restrictions will not be effective in curbing smoking rates and will confuse both retailers and consumers, making it difficult to distinguish brands. They also say it will be much easier for counterfeiters to produce and sell cheap cigarettes that are unregulated, untested, and untaxed.

Jorge da Motta, UK managing director for tobacco supplier JTI, said: “Today’s announcement from the EU to ban 10s, menthol and smaller pouches of tobacco is an early Christmas present for criminal gangs across the UK.

“Banning 10s and smaller pack sizes of RYO will mean the lowest price will now be the street price sold by criminals who peddle to anyone, including children. Meanwhile the Government’s exchequer will have to plug the gap left from the flood of non-duty UK paid cigarettes and roll your own tobacco which will come in to the UK.”