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Plain cigarette packaging laws come into force today

Drab green packaging will start to replace familiar branding from today as new plain packaging laws come into force.

It is hoped the uniform packs will deter smokers - particularly young people - from taking up the habit by undermining the image tobacco companies have sought to attach to individual brands through carefully designed boxes.

This is backed up by research that shows dull plain packs are less attractive to young people.

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This is what all cigarette packages will look like after old stock is sold off
This is what all cigarette packages will look like after old stock is sold off

But the packaging will not change overnight - retailers have a year to sell off old stock before all packages go green.

But from May 2017, cigarettes and other tobacco products on sale in the UK must comply with the new regulations.

The new law comes into effect at the same time as the revised European Union Tobacco Products Directive.

This will require larger health warnings on the front and back of packets and prohibit slim 'lipstick'-style cigarette packs.

Andrew Scott Clark, director of Public Health Kent County Council and chair of the Southeast Public Health Tobacco Control Network say he hopes the changes will stop more young people taking up smoking.

He said: “We believe that the introduction of standardised packaging is an important step in consolidating the Government’s clear commitment to public health which will bring considerable public health benefits, in particular to young people.

"We know that most smokers become addicted before they turn 18, and so it is imperative that we do all we can to reduce smoking uptake amongst young people if we are to make a sustained impact on smoking rates in the UK over the longer term.

"Standardised packaging is one of a number of ways to help achieve this.”

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