As if smokers didn’t have enough to worry about, what with having to brave the British summer every time they fancy sucking back on a smoke stick, having really smelly fingers and, you know, being stuck on a road to cancerville, new tobacco laws have just come into force in the UK and across Europe.
Here’s what you need to know.
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Let’s just say cigarette packs aren’t going to get prettier. In the UK, they all need to be an ugly olive green, with 65% of the front and back of packets dedicated to health warnings and those grim pictures of fucked up lungs/mouths/hearts/feet that we’re all slowly becoming desensitised to. Additional 'YOU'RE GOING TO DIE' warnings will feature at the top and bottom.
Fonts and logos are all to be standardised too, which brands that have worked hard to perfect their pretty images are particularly annoyed about. Australia went plain in 2012 (the image above shows the transformation of Marlboro fags Down Under), and the people in the know say it's led to a decline in smoking rates.
Drunk smokers will be gutted to hear that 10-cigarette packets are being scrapped, with the new minimum capacity for packs set to stand at 20.
Olive Green Everything
It’s not just cigarette packaging that’s getting a makeover, either. Those trendy, slick-fingered rollie-puffers who like talking about deep stuff like art and poetry will be affected too. Packs of tobacco are all to be the same horrible shade of green as cigarette boxes, and 30g has been set as the absolute minimum capacity.
Posers and beginners, look away now. Easy-on-the-throat but still-terrible-for-you Menthol cigarettes are to be phased out, with a complete ban coming into force in 2020. The same goes for skinny ‘lipstick-style’ cigarettes, the kind guys are usually terrified of being seen with, and questionable descriptions like 'free of additives' or 'less harmful than other brands'.
Don’t think you’ve dodged the drama, e-cigarette suckers. Though real, proper, qualified doctors have come out in support of them, saying they should be encouraged and endorsed, lawmakers aren’t so sure. They’ve imposed a near-total ban on e-cigarette advertising, and any e-cigarettes with a nicotine concentration above 20mg/ml will be classified as a medicine, and will therefore be subjected to the same strict regulations as over-the-counter drugs.
Though the law came into force today, shops have until May 2017 to burn through their current stock, so you can probably look forward to some heavy discounts next April and crazy-expensive underground sales next June.
Image: Jim via Flickr