Production of cigarette 10 packs has now ceased, after new European laws came into force this morning (20 May).
The new European Tobacco Products Directive imposes a ban on the manufacture of all cigarettes in packs of less than 20, and rolling tobacco in packs of less than 30g.
Flip top boxes have also been banned and the size of on-pack health warnings has been increased.
The UK government has also introduced plain packaging for cigarettes and rolling tobacco. Retailers have a further year, until 20 May 2017, to sell through existing stock.
The ban on small pack sizes will see 22 of the UK’s top 25 selling cigarette packets abolished, the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA) said.
Director general Giles Roca added: “The Tobacco Products Directive makes sweeping changes that will affect pack sizes, labelling, ingredients and brand choice of an already highly-regulated and legal product.
“Problems have been further exacerbated by very poor implementation. Friday will probably be the first time that many consumers will have heard about these changes. The UK government has made little effort to communicate these changes which will confuse customers and inconvenience retailers.
“In a single measure the government is attacking retailers, cutting tax revenues, reducing consumer choice and giving a boost to the black market.”
Duncan Cunningham, Imperial Tobacco UK and Ireland’s head of corporate and legal affairs, urged retailers to prepare for the coming changes.
“Tobacco pricing plays a critical role in the independent trade, and our experiences in Australia – which introduced standardised packaging in 2012 – suggest retailers who plan and prepare for change will be putting themselves in the strongest position to transition successfully.”
The EUTPD also imposes new rules on electronic cigarettes. From today new advertising and promotion restrictions have been enforced and from 20 November production of all e-cigs and liquids with a nicotine content of more than 20/mg/ml.