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Tobacco Manufactures could face disruption with the loss of the stock EU photo bank for use of plain cigarette packaging in the event of a no deal Brexit. 


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The Tobacco lobby has been making it voice heard when it comes to the implications of a no deal Brexit. 


Some of the big multinationals have commented that they see a no deal Brexit opening up an entirely new black market for tobacco products. 


At present it is EU laws that control the vast majority of regulation surrounding tobacco products in the UK. The most notable of which is the Tobacco Products Directive of 2014 which applies to both the regular hinge style cigarettes packets and the loose foil pouch packaging for loose tobacco.


There is some UK regulation in place which this directive works alongside however there was a UK government initiative in 2015 to both reduce sales and smoking rates. 


The UK may use Australia’s anti-smoking imagery in the event of a no deal Brexit!


Interestingly the UK currently uses the EU photo bank for it’s ‘shock factor’ warning images on cigarette packaging.


In the event the UK leaves with no deal it will no longer have access to the EU sources and the regulations themselves. 


The government has confirmed that Australia has offered to  provide there stock images free of charge instead. 


Indeed Australia is at the forefront of global tobacco regulation and has led the way in the use of graphic and effective imagery.


The goal is to ensure that cigarette packaging and that of tobacco products remain properly regulated once the UK departs the EU. 



It will be the responsibility of the tobacco manufacturers to ensure that after the March 29th deadline products utilize the new Australian pictures. 


Despite the short amount of time to implement the changes tobacco manufacturers have been reassured that products can still be sold featuring the old imagery 12 months for the UK’s official exit day.


The Tobacco giants have commented that these changes are extremely inconvenient and will inevitable lead to wasted stock that will cost the industry millions.


Could the cigarette packaging changes lead to a black market?


At Japan Tobacco International (JTI), a leading tobacco manufacturer, a spokesperson has commented that these changes could disrupt the legal tobacco supply chain. 


In order to avoid this it is though the UK government must make a copyright agreement with the EU that allows the UK to carry on using it’s imagery. 


In fact the EU commission has issued similar licenses like this in the past and one here to UK would be essential in preventing an emerging black market. 


The problem is that with the introduction of plain bulk packaging the complexity of replicating the authentic packaging has been removed. These deigns are now simple and relatively easy to copy.