On April 3 2014, the European Commission published an updated version of the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/ EU), effectively repealing 2001/37/EC.
The newly adopted directive covers ingredients, labelling and packaging, including traceability and security features, cross-border distance sales, e-cigarettes, and herbal products for smoking.
The overall purpose of the revision is to standardise the appearance of all tobacco packs in order to reduce the number of youth smokers, improve public health and curb or eliminate the trade of fake cigarettes.
To that end, the directive introduces a number of technical specifications for the 'layout, design and shape of tobacco packaging'.
These provisions require that each unit packet and any outside packaging carry a specific health warning combined with a colour photograph, which must cover 65% of both front and back sides of the packaging.
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