Timeline, international developments & major news stories
Australia – Timeline of events, produced with The University of Sydney and McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer— see PLAIN TOBACCO PACKAGING IN AUSTRALIA: A time-line of legislative and legal developments
International developments in plain packaging
Thanks to the Canadian Cancer Society for compiling this information
Australia's legislation has been applauded by respected commentators in tobacco control1, 2 and by international health authorities. It has also strengthened the resolve of several other governments to follow Australia's example. As at February 2018, plain packaging has been adopted in 8 countries and is under consideration in at least 16 other jurisdictions. Other than Australia (2012), plain packaging has been implemented in France (2016), the United Kingdom (2016), Norway (2017), and Ireland (2017), will be implemented in New Zealand (2018), Hungary (2018), and Slovenia (2020), and is under formal consideration in Canada, Uruguay, Thailand, Singapore, Belgium, Romania, Chile, Turkey, Taiwan, Jersey, Guernsey, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Finland, and South Africa. Expressions of support for implementation of plain packaging have also been made by the governments of Mauritius,3 Kenya,4 Gambia,5 Botswana,6 and Burkina Faso.7
Summary of implementation dates at manufacturer and retailer levels
||Oct. 1, 2012
||Dec. 1, 2012
||May 20, 2016
||Jan. 1, 2017
||May 20, 2016
||May 20, 2017
||July 1, 2017
||July 1, 2018
||Sept. 30, 2017
||Sept. 30, 2018
||Mar. 14, 2018
||June 6, 2018
||May 20, 2018
||May 20, 2019
||Jan. 1, 2020
||Jan. 1, 2020
*In Hungary, plain packaging required for new brands from Aug. 20, 2016.
United Kingdom – Plain packaging regulations approved March 16, 20158 and came into force May 20, 2016, applying to England, Wales9 Northern Ireland10 and Scotland.11 On May 19, 2016, a tobacco industry legal challenge was dismissed, with an appeal dismissed on Nov. 30, 2016, and with permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court dismissed April 12, 2017.12, 13
France – Plain packaging legislation adopted December 17, 2015 and came into force May 20, 2016.14, 15 This legislation was upheld on Jan. 21, 2016 as constitutional by France’s Constitutional Council.16 On Dec. 23, 2016, the Council of State (France’s highest administrative court) dismissed legal challenges.17 An implementing Decree18 and Decision19 were adopted Mar. 21, 2016, and a further Decree adopted Aug. 11, 2016.20 On July 20, 2015, France hosted a 10-country ministerial meeting on plain packaging.21, 22
Hungary – On August 16, 2016, Hungary adopted a Decree to require plain packaging effective May 20, 2018 at the manufacturer level.23-25 However, plain packaging must be implemented immediately for new brands placed on the market from August 20, 2016. Ireland – Plain packaging legislation enacted March 10, 2015,26-29 amended Feb. 16, 2017,30 and commenced on Mar. 29, 2017 to come into force Sept. 30, 2017 at manufacturer level.31
New Zealand – Plain packaging legislation adopted Sept. 14, 2016 and regulations approved June 6, 2017, to come into force Mar. 18, 2018 at the manufacturer level.32-34
Norway – Plain packaging legislation adopted Feb. 10, 2017, in effect July 1, 2017 at the manufacturer level.35-39 Plain packaging regulations adopted June 22, 2017.40 On Nov. 6, 2017, the Oslo District Court dismissed an attempt to suspend implementation of plain packaging requirements applying to snuff pending the outcome of a legal challenge.41
Slovenia – Act adopted Feb. 15, 2017 requires plain packaging effective Jan. 1, 2020, and requires the Minister of Health to adopt a plain packaging regulation by Sept. 8, 2017.42, 43 Chile – Bill approved by Senate, July 9, 2015, and forwarded to House of Deputies.44
Canada – New Government elected Oct. 19, 2015 committed in electoral platform to implement plain packaging.45 On Nov. 13, 2015, the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Health included plain packaging as a “top priority”.46 On May 31, 2016, Health Minister Jane Philpott launched a public consultation ending August 31, 2016.47, 48 A government bill, Bill S-5, to elaborate on regulatory authority for plain packaging was approved by the Senate on June 1, 2017, received first reading in the House of Commons on June 15, 2017 and second reading on Jan. 30, 2018.49 Plain packaging was recommended in 1994 by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health.50
Uruguay – President stated November 24, 2015 and reiterated on July 8, 2016 that plain packaging is being considered.51, 52 A Philip Morris legal claim under bilateral Switzerland-Uruguay investment agreement dismissed July 8, 2016, regarding significant packaging restrictions (though not plain packaging).53 Subsequently, on July 13, 2016, Health Minister stated that a plain packaging law was being developed and would be implemented in 2017.54 Government bill providing enabling authority to require plain packaging was introduced in the Senate Nov. 6, 2017 and referred to the Public Health Committee Nov. 7, 2017.55, 56
Thailand – In November, 2015, a Thailand government representative stated that plain packaging was under consideration.57-59 On April 2, 2017, an Act was adopted containing regulatory authority to require plain packaging.60
Georgia – Legislation adopted May 30, 2017 with regulatory authority to require plain packaging.61
Jersey and Guernsey – On July 3, 2017, the Jersey Minister for Health and Social Services issued instructions to draft plain packaging regulations, with the intent that Jersey and Guernsey would have parallel regulations.62, 63
Singapore – On Dec. 29, 2015, Singapore launched a public consultation on plain packaging ending March 29, 2016.64, 65 On Mar. 9, 2017, the Senior Minister of State for Health stated that a further public consultation would be held in 2017.66 On Feb. 4, 2018, Singapore launched a public consultation ending Mar. 16, 2018.67, 68
Nepal – On May 8, 2017, Minister of Health announced that Nepal to have plain packaging by 2018.69-71
Sri Lanka – On Nov. 7, 2016, President stated that Minister of Health is proposing to introduce plain packaging “in the near future.”72, 73
Belgium – Public Health Minister announced April 9, 2016 that Belgium to have plain packaging by 2019.74
Romania – Law adopted Nov. 4, 2016 includes a provision authorizing government to adopt decision requiring plain packaging.75
Taiwan – On Feb. 13, 2017, government provided notification of draft bill containing regulatory authority to require plain packaging.76
Finland – Government national action plan (June 2014) includes plain packaging as planned measure.77
Turkey – Plain packaging included in government national action plan for 2015-2018.78 In August, 2016, the Health Minister stated that plain packaging is under consideration.79 On Feb. 9, 2017, the Minister of Health stated “we have completed preparations for the introduction of plain packaging”.80
South Africa – Health Minister stated July 24, 2014 that he wants to implement plain packaging,81 and stated March 18, 201582 and May 31, 201683 that legislation will be introduced in Parliament. In November, 2017, Health Minister stated a draft bill would be submitted to Cabinet in early 2018.84
European Union – new Tobacco Products Directive adopted April 3, 2014 explicitly states that 28 EU countries have the option of implementing plain packaging, a provision upheld on May 4, 2016 by the European Court of Justice as valid when dismissing a tobacco industry legal challenge.85-87
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8. Children and families act 2014. Enabling legislation approved by Parliament March 13, no. 6, section 94 2014; Available from: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/pdfs/ukpga_20140006_en.pdf.
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18. Décret no 2016-334 du 21 mars 2016 relatif au paquet neutre des cigarettes et de certains produits du tabac. NOR : AFSP1603141D [Decree no 2016-334 of 21 March 2016 relating to plain packaging of cigarettes and of certain tobacco products] 2016; Available from: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jopdf.do?id=JORFTEXT000032276104.
19. Arrêté du 21 mars 2016 relatif aux conditions de neutralité et d’uniformisation des conditionnements et du papier des cigarettes et du tabac à rouler. NOR : AFSP1607269A [Decision of 21 March 2016 relating to conditions of plain and standardized packaging and cigarette paper and rolling tobacco] 2016; Available from: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jo_pdf.do?id=JORFTEXT000032276123.
20. Décret n° 2016-1117 du 11 août 2016 relatif à la fabrication, à la présentation, à la vente et à l'usage des produits du tabac, des produits du vapotage et des produits à fumer à base de plantes autres que le tabac (amends the code de la santé publique [public health code]). 2016; Available from: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/decret/2016/8/11/AFSP1612356D/jo.
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23. Decree 239/2016 of 16 august 2016. Amendment to Government Decree 39/2013 of 14 February 2013 on the manufacture, placement on the market and control of tobacco products, combined warnings and the detailed rules for the application of the health-protection fine 2016.
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26. Public health (standardised packaging of tobacco) act 2015. Number 4 of 2015, enacted March 10, 2015; Available from: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2015/act/4/enacted/en/print.html.
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28. Public health (standardised packaging of tobacco) regulations 2017. S.I. No. 422 of 2017 2017; Available from: http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/si422.pdf.
29. Public health (standardised packaging of tobacco) bill 2014. Bill Number 54 of 2014 2014; Available from: http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=26331&&CatID=59.
30. Health (miscellaneous provisions) act 2017. Number 1 of 2017, 2017; Available from: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2017/a0117.pdf.
31. Ireland Department of Health. Standardised packaging of tobacco to be signed into law, to come into force in september, in March 29, 2017 (news release)2017. Available from: http://health.gov.ie/blog/press-release/standardised-packaging-of-tobacco-to-be-signed-into-law-to-come-into-force-in-september/.
32. Smoke-free environments (tobacco standardised packaging) amendment act 2016. 2016 no 43, adopted Sept 14, 2016 2016; Available from: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2016/0043/latest/DLM5821008.html.
33. Smoke-free environments regulations 2017. LI 2017/123, approved June 6 2017; Available from: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2017/0123/latest/whole.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_smoke_resel_25_a&p=1#DLM7282702.
34. New Zealand Ministry of Health. Standardised tobacco products and packaging draft regulations, in Consultation document May 312016. Available from: https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/standardised-tobacco-products-and-packaging-draft-regulations.
35. Bill 142l, in Law amending the Tobacco Control Act (implementation of Directive 2014/40 /EU and standardised tobacco packaging), June 102016. Available from: http://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/files/live/Norway/Norway%20-%20Law%20Amd%27ing%20TC%20Act%20%282017%29.pdf.
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