NPR, May 20, 2017
Maggie Penman

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In recent months, some Brits have expressed their distaste for European Union regulations — a frustration that helped motivate the Brexit vote last summer.

But this weekend, new regulations on the tobacco industry came into force in the United Kingdom, and they go even further than what an EU directive required.

The Tobacco Products Directive was revised by the EU a year ago to impose new restrictions on tobacco products in hopes of deterring smoking, especially among young people. The restrictions include the banning of flavored cigarettes that mask the smell and taste of tobacco, and the addition of larger warnings and graphic photos of some of the health risks. The EU cites evidence that pictorial warnings have been shown to contribute to the reduction of smoking rates in Canada and Brazil.

There are also new rules regulating the amount of nicotine that e-cigarettes may contain, something the directive says was previously unregulated. There will also be new packaging and labeling rules for e-cigarettes.

All of the regulations were set to go into effect Saturday, one year after they passed, to give businesses time to clear out old stock.

The U.K. has decided to go even further than the EU in regulating tobacco products with a rule that standardizes cigarette packaging. All cigarettes in the U.K. must now be sold in green packaging with graphic warning labels, with the brand name printed in a standard typeface. The BBC reports that some have called the new standardized cartons "the ugliest color in the world." [...]

health law policy international public health regulation tobacco