It's six months to go until the UK leaves the EU and, at the moment, a deal has still not been made. The UK Department of Health and Social Care have announced that, in preparation for a no-deal Brexit, the Australian government have agreed to provide the UK with deterrent pictures for tobacco products.
The rules for plain packaging for tobacco were implemented in the UK in May 2017. All tobacco products sold in the UK must be in green packaging, with health warnings covering 65% of the front and back of every packet.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, the current UK legislation in place that applies the EU Tobacco Products Directive and the Tobacco Advertising Directive would remain even though the Directives would no longer be enforceable.
The European Commission owns the copyright in the images currently used on UK tobacco products. If, on 29 March 2019, the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then new warning pictures will have to be used from that day. The EU has provided for a grace period of 12 months from the day of departure for the UK to sell products featuring images from the EU library.
Currently, the terms of the agreement have not yet been disclosed. Further guidance will be published by the UK government regarding the format of the Australian images for compliance with the UK's tobacco industry.
Australia was the first country to bring in plain packaging rules for tobacco. Despite challenges from other countries, in June 2018 the World Trade Organisation approved their restrictions and made plain packaging for tobacco products international trade law.
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