Plain Packaging

The TRA has commissioned a new video which highlights the impact that plain packaging is having on the independent retail sector. A short version is available to view here


A longer version is available to view here


Standardised (or ‘Plain’) packaging for cigarette and hand rolling tobacco products has been in place since May 2017.  These products are packaged in identical, drab coloured packets dominated by large pictorial and textual health warnings.

 The Government pressed ahead with plain packaging, despite the facts that:

  • there is no credible evidence to support the view that “plain packs” would stop young people from taking up smoking or encourage adult smokers to quit;
  • successive rounds of public consultation have all rejected the proposals by an overwhelming majority;
  • all the leading business and retail groups are strongly opposed to the proposals as they understand the damage they would inflict on small business and the High Street;
  • this would be introduced on top of the display ban, even though the effect of the ban has not been evaluated and there are no plans to do so.

Plain packaging is a real headache for retailers and adult smokers.  All previous branding was removed, so the only way to tell different brands and ranges apart is by reading small, text labels on the packs.  This has made it more difficult for all retailers and customers to easily and accurately identify the tobacco products they are handling – let alone anyone with visual, language or learning difficulties.