Saturday, 25 November 2017


Standardised packaging for tobacco

Published on 22 May 2017

Smoking Packaging

Sample UK "plain" packs


From Saturday 20 May 2017, all tobacco sold in the UK must be in new-style “plain” packaging, featuring drab colours and new picture warnings about the dangers of smoking. This follows a year’s grace period where old-style branded packs could still be sold.

Sheila Duffy, ASH Scotland’s Chief Executive, said, “For too long tobacco companies hid their products behind enticing imagery and pushy brands, concealing the damaging reality of the cigarettes inside. Plain packs are already being seen around the country and from 20 May every pack will be drab and unappealing. For the next generation growing up in Scotland, putting the branding out of sight and out of mind should help put smoking out of fashion."

Standardised (plain) packaging

Standardised packaging is not actually 'plain', but instead involves regulating the design characteristics of tobacco packaging (e.g. the branding, colouring, typography, size, shape and method of opening), so that tobacco products must be sold in a standardised form of packaging.

What plain packaging means

From May 2016, cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco produced for sale in the UK must be in standardised packs. From May 2017, only tobacco in plain packs can legally be sold under the relevant regulations:

  • packs must be coloured drab green
  • brand and variant names will be in small, uniform font towards the bottom of the pack
  • packs must contain no fewer than 20 cigarettes or no less than 30g of roll-your-own tobacco
  • large, graphic health warnings must cover 65% of the front and 65% of the back of the packaging.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with smoking please contact Smokefree Hebrides at NHS Western Isles.

Smokefree Hebrides offer an excellent smoking cessation service and provides free, confidential and expert support to smokers who would like to quit. 

Call Smokefree Hebrides on 01851701623 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , for further information and a friendly chat about how we can help.