Smoking in the United Kingdom just became a more costly vice since the government placed tougher restrictions on tobacco products, with an expanded implementation to e-cigarettes.
The European Union already enforced strict regulations for tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturers in May 2016 but the UK, which is scheduled to leave the Union in 2019, decided that more stringent measures are required in order to discourage its people from smoking.
EU already required manufacturers to change the product packaging by removing misleading labels, with a special section on e-cigarette labels, and covering 65 percent of the package with graphic photos of health warnings. It also banned cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco that have flavorings which mask the smell and taste of tobacco, but the UK wants to go further.
New UK Regulations
The UK decided to retain the rule that 65 percent of cigarette packages must show graphic health warnings but what changed is that packages are now even more standardized.
Following the new law, all cigarette packages must now sport a standard green packaging and brand names will be printed using a standard typeface. Misleading labels such as "organic" or "low tar" is also banned from packages. This is supposedly to lessen the product's attractiveness and deglamorize the act of smoking to young people.
Aside from this, manufacturers are no longer allowed to distribute and sell cigarette packages that contain fewer than 20 sticks, making each pack more costly to purchase, and a greater expense to lower income smokers.
According to reports, the new regulation on package size will cost smokers about $2,607 (£2000) per year if they choose to continue smoking.
The government has also set regulations with regard to the amount of nicotine e-cigarettes can contain.
Criticism And Support For The Strict Regulations
The new strict regulations already have its share of haters and supporters coming from smokers' rights group Forest and health organizations.
"Adults and even teenagers are under no illusions about the health risks of smoking ... The new regulations are a disgraceful attempt to denormalise both the product and legitimate consumers," Forest Director Simon Clark said.
Others also expressed the possibility of forcing e-cigarette smokers, who use the device to quit smoking, to return to real cigarettes.
Alice Cox, Cancer Research UK's director of prevention, disagrees.
"Smoking is still the single largest preventable cause of death in the UK and kills around 96,000 people every year ... Standardised packs will help protect the next generation from an addiction that kills around two thirds of all long term smokers," Cox said.