Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: law

Smoking in cars

Levels of secondhand smoke in cars can be extremely high due to the restricted space in which the smoke is circulated.  August 2018

Smoking in cars

Briefing: Impact of “Brexit” on UK Tobacco Control legislation

A briefing summarising the impact of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on tobacco control laws.

Briefing: Impact of "Brexit" on UK tobacco control legislation

PMI vs Uruguay – World Bank ruling

In 2010 Philip Morris International initiated a law suit with an arbitration panel of the World Bank alleging that two of Uruguay’s tobacco control laws violated a bi-lateral treaty with Switzerland.  On 8 July 2016, the tribunal dismissed all of PMI’s claims and ordered the company to pay Uruguay’s legal costs.  The following briefings by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids summarise the tribunal’s findings.


Key Findings
PMI v Uruguay ruling - key findings CTFK 2016

Joint submission to the Uruguay proceedings by WHO and the FCTC Secretariat.

Advertising, promotion & sponsorship

Regulation Description
United Kingdom
ASA Guidance on advertising e-cigarettes
(External web page)
Introduced restrictions on the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of e-cigarettes.
Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display and Specialist Tobacconists) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011
(External web page)
These regulations amend the commencement dates of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010 (the “Display Regulations”) and the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Specialist Tobacconists) (England) Regulations 2010 (the “Specialist Tobacconist Regulations”).
The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010
(External web page)
The regulations were due to enter into force in October 2011 for large shops and October 2013 for small shops. However, following publication of the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan on 9 March 2011 implementation of the regulations was postponed until April 2012 and April 2015 for large and small shops respectively.
The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display of Prices) (England) Regulations 2010
(External web page)
These regulations set out the requirements for tobacco price lists which will enter into force at the same time as the product display regulations – see above.
Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010
(External web page)
Point of sale display ban, created retail register, gave enforcement officers power to issue FPNs for tobacco sales violations, criminalised proxy purchase and underage purchase.
The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (Ancillary Provisions) Order 2010 (regs for the above)

Regulations for the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (Scotland only).
UK Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 (In Force)
(External web page)
The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act received Royal Assent on 7 November 2002 and came into force on 14 February 2003.The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 comprehensively bans the advertising and promotion of tobacco products including the use of brand-sharing and sponsorship of cultural and sport events.

The ban was implemented in stages as follows:

14 February 2003 – From that date it became illegal to advertise tobacco products on billboards, in newspapers and magazines. Direct mail was banned in May 2003.

31 July 2003 – Tobacco sponsorship of domestic sporting events was banned.

21 December 2004 – Regulations governing advertising at the point of sale came into effect. These limit advertising to one A5 sized ad per outlet.

31 July 2005 – The ban on tobacco sponsorship of international events such as Formula One motor racing entered into force. In addition, regulations on brand-sharing came into effect.

Commencement order
(External web page)
Transitional regulations (sponsorship)
(External web page)
Brandsharing regulations
(External web page)
Point of Sale regulations
(External Web Page)
Internet regulations
(External web page)
ASH response to the consultation on the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion regulations
Submission by ASH to the consultation on the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion regulations
Department of Health consultation on draft regulations relating to brand-sharing, sponsorship and point of sale materials
(External web page)
On 30 May 2001 the European Commission presented its revised proposal for a Directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. In August 2001 the Government issued a consultation document in respect of this proposal.The proposal initially concerned tobacco products, defined as ‘all products intended to be smoked, sniffed, sucked or chewed’. However during discussions on the proposal, other Member States have suggested that any restrictions on the advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products should also include cigarette papers.
ASH response to the consulation on the inclusion of Cigarette Papers
ASH Submission to the Department of Health Consulation on the inclusion of cigarette papers within the scope of the proposed EU Directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship
Department of Health Consultation on inclusion of cigarette papers
(External web page)
Consultation by the Department of Health on the inclusion of cigarette papers within the scope of the proposed EU Directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship.
European Union
Directive on the banning of tobacco advertising and promotion
COD 2001/0119 (Agreed) (pdf)
On 2 December 2002 the Council reached an agreement on a proposed directive to ban tobacco advertising. The directive covers four areas of cross border advertising (printed publications, internet, radio and sponsorship), but does not include indirect advertising.
Directive 2003/33/EC
Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products
DTI consultation on draft EU regulations relating sales promotion
Public consultation on a proposal for a regulation concerning sales promotions in the internal market.

From previous European Commission papers in the 1990s it was concluded that long-standing market controls in many member states prevented the development of a Single Market in sales promotions across borders. In October 2001, the European Commission issued a proposals for a Regulation on Sales Promotion, the Department of Trade and Industry undertook a consultation to examine the issue.

ASH response to DTI Consultation of the EU proposal for internal sales promotions
ASH Submission to the Department of Trade and Industry on their consultation on draft European Commission proposal for a sales promotion regulation CCP 001/02
Regulation of information society service – “the e-commerce directive”
This directive establishes a free internal market in information society products such as services offered over the web. Its relevance to tobacco is that uses a particular definition for ‘commercial communication’ (advertising) – see article 2(f) and provides in-principle exemptions from general freedom for public health.
Exemption for Public Health
Article 1 (3). This Directive complements Community law applicable to information society services without prejudice to the level of protection for, in particular, public health and consumer interests, as established by Community acts and national legislation implementing them in so far as this does not restrict the freedom to provide information society services.Article 3 (4) defines exemptions from single market rules more specifically.
EU Directive 2000/31/EC (In Force)
(External Web Page)
Sales promotions in the Internal Market
COM 546 2001 final
(External web page)
In the interest of a strong internal market, emphasis of this EU proposal falls on the primacy of free movement of goods and services within member states. It seeks to harmonise differing sales promotion regulations between countries to minimise distortions in trade. It describes sales promotion as financial discounts, free gifts, promotional contests or games offered by a producer in order to expand markets.Though the proposal makes reference to public health in Article 5 (protection of children and adolescents), it remains highly controversial – article 3 of the proposed regulation prohibits member states from restricting commercial communications of a sales promotion unless required by community law.

In the absence of an EU directive explicitly prohibiting tobacco promotion, the proposal carries the potential to undermine any effort to ban the promotion of tobacco products at national levels.

EC Directive 98/48/EC
(External web page)
A previous EC directive to ban tobacco advertising 98/43/EC was struck down by a European Court of Justice ruling (Case C-376/98) on account of its legal base.The court argued that the Directive must contribute to “eliminating appreciable distortions of competition” and “eliminating obstacles to the free movement of good and to the freedom to provide services.” The Court found the Directive had failed these tests.

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Regulation Description
European Union
ASH statement on crop diversification
Statement to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on agricultural diversification and crop alternatives to tobacco.
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Tobacco Subsidies
EU Directory of Community legislation in force relating to Raw Tobacco (In Force)
(External PDF)
Currently, the growth and cultivation of raw tobacco is governed by EU regulation and legislation under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Tobacco is produced by several member countries, primarily Spain, Italy and Greece. Under the terms of CAP, producing countries are eligible to claim EU subsidies on tobacco crops. In 1998, €870m (£524m) worth of subsidies were paid out through CAP.The basic modus operandi of the CAP tobacco subsidy regime is set out in Regulation 2075/92 (as amended) with specific implementation in Regulation 2848/98, which introduced a series of reforms. The subsidy regime now pays according to three criteria – quantity produced, quality and price (previously there was a set payment per kilo). Farmers that produce higher quality receive higher subsidy payment. The system is a ‘deficiency payment’ arrangement in which premiums are paid to growers to compensate for the difference between standardised European production costs and world prices.

Article 26 of Regulation 2075/92 as amended by Regulation 1636/98 requires a review of the tobacco subsidy regime. In April 2004, the Council of Agriculture Ministers agreed to a package of reform measures including the gradual phasing out of tobacco subsidies. The reform will lead to a de-coupling of subsidies starting in 2006, to be completed by 2010. This means that subsidies will no longer be linked to production. From 2010, half of the cash currently destined for crop production will be used to fund wider rural development with the remainder being paid to farmers in the form of a single farm payment that does not encourage tobacco production.

ASH: Phasing out tobacco subsidies in the European Union
As the European Commission proposes to phase out almost 1 billion Euro of subsidies to tobacco growing, replacing the subsidy regime with support for sustainable development. ASH looks at the background to tobacco subsidies, reasons for a phase out – and what could be done instead.
Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) (External Web Page) European Union Agenda 2000.The aim of the new CAP reform is to deepen and widen the 1992 reform by replacing price support measures with direct aid payments and accompanying this process by a consistent rural policy.

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Broadcasting guidelines

Regulation Description
United Kingdom
Regulation of e-cigarette advertising and sponsorship on television and radio.
Amendments to the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and the BCAP Code: the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising
These amendments arise from the UK Government’s implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014 and will take effect from 20th May 2016.
The Audiovisual Media Services (Product Placement) Regulations 2010
(External Web Page)
This legislation permits product placement in certain types of TV programme. However, it prohibits product placement in UK-made programmes of any tobacco product including electronic or smokeless cigarettes, tobacco accessories such as lighters and cigarette papers or pipes intended for smoking.
Ofcom Broadcasting Code
(External Web Page)
The Office of Communications (Ofcom) is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities for television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. It was established on 29 December 2003.Ofcom replaces the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television Commission and the Radio Authority.

Ofcom is required by the Communications Act 2003 to draw up a Code or Codes setting standards for programmes, sponsorship, and fairness and privacy.

Protecting children
(External Web Page)
This section of the Broadcasting code includes the portrayal of smoking and other drugs
Broadcast Guidance and Procedures
(External Web Page)
This is to assist broadcasters interpret and apply the Broadcasting code.
Section One (Rule 1.10): Drugs, smoking, solvents and alcohol abuse
(External PDF)
This section gives guidance on the inclusion of smoking and other drugs. It states that inclusion of such substances “at times when children are particularly likely to be listening must be editorially justified”.
European Union
Audiovisual Media Services Directive
EU Council Directive 89/552/EEC (In Force)
(External Web Page)The “Television Without Frontiers” Directive (TVWF) was adopted in 1989 , revised in 1997 and in 2007 became the “Audiovisual Media Services Directive
Overview of the Directives
The original Directive adopted in 1989 comprises a set of protocols that seek to harmonise broadcasting activities of member states. Trans-national broadcasting via satellite necessitates that content of national broadcasts do not prejudice the laws of other member states. Under this Directive, all television advertising promoting cigarettes and other tobacco products is prohibited including indirect advertising.This directive prohibits the advertising of all tobacco products on television including indirect advertising, which whilst not directly mentioning the tobacco product, seeks to circumvent the ban on advertising by using brand names, symbols or other distinctive features of tobacco products.

Article 13 states:

Art 13 ”All forms of television advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products shall be prohibited.”

This was amended in 1997 (97/36/EC) to ban teleshopping for cigarettes:

Art 13 “All forms of television advertising and teleshopping for cigarettes and other tobacco products shall be prohibited”

The Directive also bans programme sponsorship by tobacco companies:

Art 17. a.2 Television programmes may not be sponsored by undertakings whose principal activity is the manufacture or sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Implemented in England via The Broadcasting Act 1990. Section 93 of the Act in turn confers responsibility for control of advertisements to Ofcom.

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Consumer protection

Regulation Description
European Union
Medicines Directive
DIRECTIVE 2001/83/EC on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use (In Force)
(External Web Page)
This Directive imposes controls on the way medicinal products are sold within the European Union including restrictions on the advertising of medicinal products.  From 2016 the sale and marketing of electronic cigarettes will be regulated by the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive except where therapeutic claims are made or they contain over 20 mg/ml of nicotine, in which case they will require medicines authorisation and be governed by the Medicines Directive.
General Product Safety
EU Council Directive 92/59/EEC (In Force)
(External Web Page)
Although the regulations are not tobacco specific they cover items such as cigarette lighters – see below.  The regulations stipulate that no producer shall place a product on the market unless the product is a safe product.The EU regulatory committee has developed a standard for fire safer (reduced ignition propensity) cigarettes, ie cigarettes that have been modified to reduce the risk of accidental fires. The standard was adopted in August 2011 and manufacturers were required to ensure compliance by November 2011.

For more information on RIP cigarettes visit

Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 2328
(External Web Page)
The EC directive was implemented in England by Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 2328 as The General Product Safety Regulations 1994.
Child-resistant cigarette lighters (EC Commission Decision 2006/502/EC)
(External Web Page)
On 11 May 2006 the Commission adopted a Decision requiring Member States to ensure that disposable cigarette lighters sold in the EU are child-resistant. The Decision also prohibits the placing on the market of lighters which resemble objects that are particularly attractive to children. Luxury and semi-luxury lighters are excluded from the scope of the Decision but must comply with the general safety requirements for all these products. The law covers all disposable lighters which account for about 98% of lighters sold in the EU.

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Product regulation and labelling

Regulation Description
United Kingdom
Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 UK regulations implementing the EU Tobacco Products Directive.
Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 (PDF) These regulations introduced standardised plain packaging for cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco, including removing visual brand elements and increasing the size of graphic health warnings.
Children and Families Act 2014
(External Web Page)
This Act, passed in March 2014, enabled the Government to bring in regulations to require standardised tobacco packaging. In addition it allowed for regulations to prohibit smoking in vehicles when children are present; to prohibit the purchasing of tobacco by adults for children (proxy purchasing); and to prohibit the sale of nicotine products (electronic cigarettes) to persons under the age of 18.
Tobacco Additives
UK Voluntary agreement on the use of new additives in tobacco products (Voluntary Agreement In Force)
(External Web Page)
Over 600 additives are allowed in the manufacture of tobacco products in the UK. Additives are controlled under a loose and decentralised regulatory framework.The scrutiny of the additives rests with the Department of Health and its Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

The agreement also includes mutual recognition arrangements that require additives approved in other EU countries to be permitted in the UK. This is a major loophole.

European Union
Product Regulation and Labelling
Article 20(5), Tobacco Products Directive: proposals for UK law Article 20(5) of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EC requires EU member states to introduce restrictions on the advertising of electronic cigarettes. In the UK, the proposed implementation will consist of changes to the Communications Act 2003, free-standing new regulations and changes by Ofcom (the communications regulator in the UK) to the BCAP Code and Broadcast Code.From 20 May 2016, across the EU, e-cigarettes and re-fill containers cannot be advertised or promoted, directly or indirectly: on TV or on-demand TV; on radio; through information society services (this includes for example internet advertising and commercial e-mail); and in certain printed publications-newspapers, magazines, periodicals and similar publications.
EU Advocate General’s Opinions on legal challenges to the Tobacco Products Directive. (Dec 2015)
ECJ press release (pdf)
Case C-547/14 – This case brought by the tobacco industry challenges the fundamental basis for the Directive, arguing that it is disproportionate and infringes the principle of subsidiarity.
Case C-477/14 – E-cigarette manufacturer Pillbox 38 (UK) Ltd, trading as Totally Wicked, argues that the Directive is in contravention of EU law and that it is in appropriate to apply rules banning advertising of tobacco products to electronic cigarettes.
Case C-358/14 – The Polish government is challenging the ban on menthol flavouring of cigarettes.
EU Advocate General Kokott dismissed 3 separate legal challenges to the Directive in Opinions released on 23 December 2015. Although not binding, AG Opinions help to inform the Court of Justice on the outcome of these challenges. The court is expected to make a ruling on each of these cases in March 2016.
EU Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU
(External Web Page)
The Tobacco Products Directive, replacing Directive (2001/37/EC), lays down rules governing the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products. As well as tobacco products, the Directive includes the regulation of electronic cigarettes and herbal products for smoking. Member States will be required to transpose the Directive into domestic law by 20 May 2016. See the European Commission website for further information.
The Directive:

  • prohibits cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours,
  • requires the tobacco industry to submit detailed reports to the Member States on the ingredients used in tobacco products, in particular cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco,
  • requires that health warnings appear on packages of tobacco and related products. Combined (picture and text) health warnings must cover 65% of the front and back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packages,
  • sets minimum dimensions for warnings and eliminates small packages for certain tobacco products,
  • bans all promotional and misleading elements on tobacco products,
  • enables Member States to introduce standardised tobacco packaging,
  • introduces EU-wide tracking and tracing to combat illicit trade of tobacco products,
  • allows Member States to prohibit internet sales of tobacco and related products,
  • sets out safety and quality requirements for consumer electronic cigarettes,
  • obliges manufacturers to notify novel tobacco products before placing them on the EU market

Technical specifications for the layout, design and shape of the combined health warnings.

Report summarising the public consultation on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive. July 2011
(external link)

EU Tobacco Products Directive
(external link)
Council Directive 2001/37/EC incorporates measures from directive 92/41/EC, which bans the sale of oral tobacco in the EC countries with the exception of Sweden.The tobacco product directive introduced a range of measures relating to the formulation of cigarettes and their packaging. The directive required:

  • new, large, written warnings to appear on the front and back of tobacco packaging.
  • maximum yields for tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide
  • the banning of misleading descriptors such as “light” or “mild”
  • the disclosure of ingredients
  • a review of the directive
  • and enabled Member States to add picture warnings to tobacco packaging
EU Council Directive 2001/37/EC (In Force)
(External Web Page)
This directive replaces two previous directives on labelling (see 89/622/EEC, 92/41/EC) and tar levels (90/239/EEC).Directive 2001/37/EC requires a range of measures to be taken by manufacturers of tobacco products such as dedicating more surface area to health warnings on tobacco product packaging, the proscribing of misleading descriptors such as ‘mild’, ‘low-tar’, ’light’, ‘ultra-low’ and setting ceilings to the yields of tar (10mg), nicotine (1mg) and carbon monoxide (10mg) for all cigarettes manufactured within the community irrespective of whether for consumption or export.

Council Directive 2001/37/EC also incorporates measure from directive 92/41/EC, which bans the sale of oral tobacco in the EU countries with the exemption of Sweden.

The European Commission is required to carry out a review of the Directive every two years. The first review, due in December 2004 was delayed until July 2005. The second review is due in December 2007.

Time-table for implementation of Council Directive 2001/37/EC measures was as follows:

30 Sept 2002: New warnings on packs

31 Dec 2002: Picture specifications proposed by the Commission – delayed until late 2005

31 Dec 2002: Ingredients disclosure

30 Sept 2003: Branding – misleading descriptors etc banned

1 Jan 2004 : Max tar, nicotine, CO yields to apply

31 Dec 2004: First review of the directive was due. This was delayed until July 2005

31 Dec 2004: Commission proposal for common ingredients list – delayed due to lack of agreement on data collection

1 Jan 2007: Max yields applied to exports

Annex 1. Revised set of written health warnings Member States have until 28 March 2014 to implement the changes.
Statutory Instrument 2007 no. 2473 Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (Picture warnings)
Statutory Instrument 2002 N. 3041 (External Web Page) Consumer Protection. The Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) Regulations 2002 Statutory Instrument 2002 N. 3041 implements the Directive.
Department of Health Consultation on Tobacco Regulation Directive 2001/37/EC (pdf)
Consultation on the Tobacco Products Manufacture, Presentation and Sale (Safety) Regulations 2002 implementing Directive 2001/37/EC of the European Parliament and the Council concerning the Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products.
Summary of submissions to Department of Health Tobacco Regulation Directive 2001/37/EC (pdf)
Submissions received to the Department of Health Consultation on Tobacco Regulation Directive 2001/37/EC
Opinion by the Advocate General
(External Web Page)
The Directive 2001/37/EC was subject to a challenge by British American Tobacco over the proscription of descriptors such as ‘mild’ and ‘light’. However, on 10 September 2002 opinion by the Advocate General declared provisions contained in the directive 2001/37/EC as valid.
Press release by Advocate General
(External Web Page)
Press release by the Advocate General around Directive 2001/37/EC.
ECJ Ruling C-491/01
(External Web Page)
10 December 2002 a ruling by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. This ruling deemed the banning of descriptors for tobacco product intended for the European market as valid. Tobacco products for export, however, are exempt from the restrictions on descriptors.
The provisions of the directive enter force over several years – this means that previous UK statutory instruments implementing the EC directives still stand until they are superseded. The remaining instrument still in force is Part of Council Directive 92/41/EEC (ban on oral tobacco) is implemented in England by UK Statutory Instrument 1992 No 3134 as the Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations 1992.
UK Statutory Instrument 1992 No 3134
(External Web Page)
The Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations 1992
European Commission first report on the application of the Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC (pdf)
The report is based on the feedback from Member States. The Report demonstrates the positive effects of the regulation of tobacco products emerging at EU level.
Review of the implementation of the European Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC (pdf)
The report makes the following observations:

  • Maximum tar/nicotine/CO yields: All 15 EU countries complied with the deadline. The accession countries did not request transitional periods for compliance.
  • Measurement of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels: The Commission acknowledges that the use of machines to measure yields does not reflect actual smoker intake of these substances. However, the Commission is not proposing to revise the current standards until “solid evidence shows that better methods exist to replace them”.
  • Labelling: Implementation overall is satisfactory but there have been reports of industry attempts to circumvent the legislation by attempting to hide the warnings, e.g. by the placing of cardboard covers or stickers over the warnings. However such practices are now limited. Evidence suggests that the large warnings are having an impact, with smokers being more motivated to quit smoking. The warnings appear to have been particularly effective among 15-24 year olds.
  • Ingredients: There has been little progress in developing a proposal for a common list of ingredients. The Commission argues that the WHO should co-ordinate regulatory efforts through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Tobacco Additives
Consultation on tobacco additives
(External Web Page)
Results of the public consultation on the addictiveness and attractiveness of tobacco additives. 

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Smokefree places

Regulation Description
United Kingdom
Children and Families Act 2014
(External Web Page)
This Act enables the Government to implement regulations to prohibit smoking in vehicles when children are present.
UK Scotland – Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005
(External Web Page)
Scotland was the first country in the UK to implement a legal ban on smoking in the workplace in March 2006.
The Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006
(External Web Page)
The law applies to most indoor workplaces and public places, with limited exceptions, such as prisons and designated rooms in residential care homes. These are set out in the regulations.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland
The Health Act 2006
(External PDF)
The Health Act received Royal Assent in July 2006 and entered into force in April 2007 in Wales and Northern Ireland, and in July 2007 in England. As in Scotland, the law covers virtually all indoor workplaces with very limited exemptions for workplaces that are also places of residence.It makes provision for the prohibition of smoking in certain premises, places and vehicles and for amending the minimum age of persons to whom tobacco may be sold. 19th July 2006.
Smokefree England
(External Web Page)
Various regulations covering the implementation and enforcement of the smokefree law in England.
European Union
Commission proposal for a Council recommendation on smoke-free environments (COM(2009)0328)
(External Web Page)
The purpose of this Recommendation is to assist and encourage national governments to better protect citizens from the risks of tobacco smoke, in line with international commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
There is currently no EU-wide legislation that bans smoking in workplaces or other public places. A proposal has been issued by the European Commission outlining various options ranging from a Council Recommendation to comprehensive legislation.
ASH submission to EU Green Paper (pdf)
Response to the European Commission’s Green Paper: ‘Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level’.
Green Paper towards a Europe free from Tobacco smoke
(External PDF)
The aim of the present Green Paper is to launch a broad consultation process and an open public debate, involving the EU institutions, Member States and the civil society, on the best way forward to tackle passive smoking in the EU.
Global Smokefree Partnership
(External Web Page)
Resources include a world map of smokefree policies
International Law Guide Further information from ASH on International Law

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Smoking cessation

Regulation Description
Terms of service for Doctors
The National Health Service (General Medical Services) Regulations 1992 (amendment)
(External Web Page)
Legislation in Force Paragraph 12 of Schedule 2 of this piece of legislation requires doctors to advise patients about the significance of diet, the use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and the misuse of drugs.

Wherever appropriate, doctors must advise against smoking as part of the service they provide to their patients.

NRT on prescription on the National Health Service
The National Health Service (General Medical Services) Regulations 2001 (amendment)
(External Web Page)
Legislation In Force On National No Smoking Day 2001, the public health minister Yvette Cooper announced that nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as patches, lozenges and gum were to be made available on prescription from local general practitioners.

Prior to the announcement, NRT drugs were included in schedule ten of the General Medical Services, which lists drugs that GPs cannot prescribe.

From 17 April 2001 in England and from May 1 2001 in Wales, nicotine replacement therapies were made available to the general public on prescription.

The therapies are available to smokers aged over 18 years of age and to smokers under 18 years on the recommendation of a healthcare professional.

Availability of NRT on the High Street
The Medicines General Sale List Order 2001 (amendment)
(External Web Page)
Legislation In Force This amendment to the Medicines General Sales List altered the status of many nicotine replacement therapies from being a controlled drug available when supplied under the supervision of a pharmacist (Pharmacy only), to one available on the high street (General sales).

These amendments came into force on 31 May 2001.

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Taxation, Customs and Excise

Regulation Description
United Kingdom
Finance Act
UK Finance Act 2001 (Legislation In Force)
(External Web Page)
Provisions in the Act set out rates of duty on tobacco products.
The Finance Act 2006 (Tobacco Products Duty: Evasion) (Appointed Day) Order 2006
(External Web Page)
This Order imposes a duty on tobacco manufacturers to avoid supplying cigarettes or hand-rolling tobacco to persons likely to smuggle them into the UK.
The Tobacco Products (Amendment) Regulations 2006
(External Web Page)
These regulations set out the obligations of tobacco companies not to facilitate smuggling. In the case of seized goods, tobacco manufacturers are required to supply detailed information about the products such as the intended customer and destination.
Tobacco Products Duty Act 1979 Chapter 7 This sets out the duty of tobacco manufacturers not to facilitate smuggling and is the primary law supporting the 2006 Tobacco Products (Amendment) Regulations
Fiscal markings on tobacco products
UK Tobacco Product Regulations 2001 (In Force)
(External Web Page)
In 1999, amidst concern for the rise in tobacco smuggling, The Chancellor of the Exchequer commissioned Martin Taylor to conduct an independent evaluation into the government anti-smuggling strategy. The result was a series of recommendations represented in a report Tackling Tobacco Smuggling, which is the main statement of policy on tackling tobacco smuggling.One of the recommendations adopted by the Government from Mr Taylor’s study was to print prominent fiscal markings on tobacco product packaging to indicate ‘UK Duty Paid’ to distinguish between legitimate trade and contraband trafficking.

The Tobacco Product Regulations 2001 requires tobacco products to carry a ‘UK Duty Paid’ marking and any retailers failing to comply are liable to a fine up to £5000.

Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel (Alcoholic Liquor and Tobacco Products) Order 2000 (In Force)
(External Web Page)
With the Channel Tunnel an increasingly popular thoroughfare between the UK and mainland Europe, this legislation deems goods being brought into Britain via France to be commensurate to goods being imported as soon as they enter the control zone of the French side.This enables determinations to be made on imported tobacco and alcohol via the tunnel in the same way that they are in the United Kingdom.

This order applies to certain provisions relating to the relief from payment of excise duty on imported alcohol and tobacco conferred on Community travellers.

European Union
EU Tobacco Tax Directive
Council Directive 2010/12/EU of 16 February 2010 amending Directives 92/79/EEC, 92/80/EEC and 95/59/EC on the structure and rates of excise duty applied on manufactured tobacco and Directive 2008/118/EC
The EU Directive (17778/09 5807/10) has been adopted which updates EU rules on the structure and rates of excise duties on cigarettes and other tobacco products. It updates previous directives: 92/79, 92/80 and 95/59.The directive is intended to ensure a higher level of public health protection by raising minimum excise duties on cigarettes, whilst bringing the minimum rates for hand-rolled tobacco gradually into line with those for cigarettes. The measures will also narrow the differences between Member States’ tobacco taxation levels and so help tackle intra-EU tobacco smuggling.
Anti-Smuggling Measures
Agreements between the European Union and international tobacco companies to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco products.
Imperial Tobacco
(external page)

BAT Agreement
(external page)
Japan Tobacco International Agreement (pdf)
Philip Morris International Agreement (pdf)
These legally-binding agreements require the tobacco companies to implement rigorous controls to prevent the illicit trade of tobacco. If any of their own products are found to be smuggled within the EU the companies are required to pay seizure payments.
‘Personal consumption’ guidelines for Tobacco and Alcohol
Minimum Indicative Levels for tobacco products, HMRC (pdf) Minimum Indicative Levels (MILs) are used to assist Border officials in determining whether tobacco products imported from other EU Member States into the UK are for personal use. From 1 October 2011 the MILs will be reduced from 3200 cigarettes and 3kg of hand rolled tobacco to 800 cigarettes and 1kg of rolling tobacco.
EU Council Directive 92/12/EEC (In Force)
(External Web Page)
This directive rules on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement and monitoring of such products.In addition, the directive lays down arrangement for products that are subject to excise duties and other taxes that are levied directly or indirectly on the consumption of these products.

Importantly, in the absence of restrictions on the movement of products such as tobacco and alcohol between member states, Article 9 of Directive 92/12/EEC sets out guidelines for national governments on quantities considered not to be of commercial volumes.

Excise Duties
EU Council Directive 92/79/EEC
(External Web Page)Council Directive 92/80/EEC
(External Web Page)

EU Council Directive 95/59/EC
(External Web Page)

The EU has applied limits governing the structure of tobacco duties (see directives 92/79/EEC on cigarettes, 92/80/EEC on products other than cigarettes and 95/59/EC). These may have had some effect in raising minimum duties, but their prime purpose is to stop the use of the excise tax system acting as a protectionist barrier to trade.A new proposal to restructure and raise minimum excise duties (Council Proposal COM/2001/0133 final) had been proposed by the Commission. The proposal included measures to discourage traffic flows of contraband tobacco products from low tax bracket member states to higher rate member countries. But the proposal suffered a defeat in the European Parliament and was not adopted.
EU Council Directive 2007/74/EC
(External web page)
 This directive allows member states to reduce the duty-free import limit from 200 cigarettes to 40 cigarettes for travellers arriving from a non-EU country. Similar rules apply to other tobacco products. Member states may apply the rules to people arriving by air, land or sea.

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Youth access

Regulation Description
United Kingdom
Children and Families Act 2014
(External Web Page)
This Act enables the Government to implement regulations to prohibit the purchasing of tobacco by adults for children (proxy purchasing); and to prohibit the sale of nicotine products (electronic cigarettes) to persons under the age of 18.
The Protection from Tobacco (Sales from Vending Machines (England) Regulations 2010
(External Web Page)
Sales of tobacco from vending machines will be prohibited from 1 October 2011.
The Children and Young Persons (Sale of Tobacco etc.) Order 2007 In force legislation England and Wales. From 1 October 2007 the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco was raised from 16 to 18.

The Act updates and amends the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991.

Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991
(External Web Page)
In force legislation England, Wales and Scotland only.The Act amended and strengthened the existing Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and the Children and Young Persons Act (Scotland) 1937 regarding the sale of tobacco to minors.

This Act increased the penalties for the sale of tobacco to persons under the age of 16, prohibited the sale of unpackaged cigarettes and made provision for local authorities to undertake enforcement action relating to offences connected to the sale of tobacco.

The Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (Variation of Age Limit for Sale of Tobacco etc. and Consequential Modifications) Order 2007
(External Web Page)
Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010
(External Web Page)
The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (Ancillary Provisions) Order 2010 (regs for the above)
(External Web Page)

In force legislation Scotland only.
increase in age of sale to 18.Point of sale display ban, created retail register, gave enforcement officers power to issue FPNs for tobacco sales violations, criminalised proxy purchase and underage purchase
European Union
Recommendation on prevention of smoking and initiatives to improve tobacco control
EU COM(2002) 303 final (Proposal)
(External pdf)
This council recommendation seeks to tighten tobacco control measures with particular emphasis on youth access to tobacco.Amongst the proposals:

  • adult only access to cigarette machines
  • removal of tobacco products from display
  • young people to prove their age prior to purchase
  • banning sales of packets of 10

These recommendations do not call for primary legislation but propose changes to existing legislation such as directives on product regulation and labelling.

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Standard packs briefing for health professionals

This short briefing for health professionals answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the new tobacco packaging.

Quick Facts: Standard Packs – briefing for health professionals

Standardised Packaging Postcard

A postcard explaining the changes to tobacco packaging due to take effect from May 2016.


Plain Packaging – An International Overview

A summary of developments around the world. Produced by the Canadian Cancer Society.  May 2016

Plain Packaging – An International Overview