New EU laws on how tobacco products are manufactured, produced and sold have come into force.

Known as the Tobacco Products Directive, the new legislation will see a range of tobacco products banned from sale, including packs of 10s, 19s, 18 1/2s, flavoured cigarettes (except menthol) and non-standard style packaging. New regulations covering e-cigarettes will also be included.

Although the law came into force from May 2016, there will be a transitional period until May 2017 to allow retailers to sell through old products.

Retailers who continue to sell these prohibited items after May 2017 will face fines or criminal prosecution.

In addition to the new EU rules, the UK government passed plain packaging legislation which will come into force from May 2017. Standardised packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that may be taken to restrict or end the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names that are displayed in a standard colour and typeface.

To help members prepare for the changes, the NFRN will provide members with the information and advice they need to comply with the new laws.

What the new laws mean

  • Current information on tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields replaced with an information message covering 50% of the side of the pack
  • Ban on characterising flavours (menthol ban comes into force in May 2020)
  • Prescribing minimum pack sizes of 20 ready-made cigarettes (RMC) and 30g roll your own (RYO)
  • Standardised pack design, including; shape, size, material and opening mechanisms

Tobacco Products Directive timeline

May 2016 Manufacturing Deadline – last date to manufacture packs less than 20 ready-made cigarettes and packs less than 30g roll your own

The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016* come into force

May 2017 Sell Through Deadline – the following items will be banned from sale:

  • Ready-made cigarette packs with less than 20 sticks
  • Roll Your Own packs under 30g
  • Slide and ‘Slims’ pack formats
May 2019 Track and Trace Implementation – additional traceability security features come into effect
May 2020 Menthol Ban – ban on Menthol ready-made cigarettes

*The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 sets out product standards including;

  • Child resistant / tamper evident packaging is required for liquids and devices
  • The device must be protected against breakage and leakage and capable of being refilled without leakage
  • Devices must deliver a consistent dose of nicotine under normal conditions
  • Tank and cartridge sizes must be no more than 2ml in volume and nicotine strengths of liquids must be no more than 20mg/ml


Tobacco Products Directive – advice from JTI

How will the new tobacco packaging affect your shelves – advice from Scandinavian Tobacco

Trust & Shopper Loyalty – category advice from Imperial Tobacco

Imperial Tobacco’s Retailer Start Pack

Imperial Tobacco launches ‘Partnering for Success’ legislative video

To watch the video please click here

Further help 

The NFRN Public Affairs team is here to help and will be providing regular updates and information for members on this page, leading up to the key dates and enforcement of regulations.

If you require further assistance, please email the team at

Related content