ACS launches new guidance for retailers on tobacco legislation changes

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has produced comprehensive new guidance for retailers on the upcoming changes to tobacco retailing coming into force as part of the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive and Standardised Packaging legislation.

From Friday 20 May 2016, manufacturers will only be able to produce tobacco in standardised packaging and in a minimum pack size of 20, with restrictions also being put in place for roll your own tobacco. Retailers have a sell-through period of one year in which to ensure that all of their stock is compliant with the new regulations.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The combination of the introduction of standardised packaging and the EU Tobacco Products Directive legislation has the potential to cause significant disruption to retailers. Our guidance sets out best practice for retailers at every step of the process, and will help to ensure that they stay within the law.”

The guidance sets out the action that retailers need to take at every stage of the introduction of the regulations and includes details of changes to the law on the sale of tobacco packs, roll-your-own tobacco, e-cigarettes, flavoured tobacco and ‘track and trace’ security features on tobacco products.

The guidance also draws on the experience of retailers in Australia, where standardised tobacco packaging has been in place since December 2012.

Lowman continued: “Our guidance provides advice based on the experiences of retailers who have been selling standardised tobacco products for a number of years in Australia, outlining helpful tips to minimise disruption at store level. We strongly encourage retailers to make use of this and our associated guidance on the tobacco display ban to manage the transition to the new regulations as smoothly as possible.”

ACS launched the guidance at the Responsible Retailing Forum in Leicester, where those in attendance also heard from industry experts on upcoming changes to other product areas such as alcohol and psychoactive substances. Minister for Public Health Jane Ellison also spoke to those in attendance at the forum via video message, addressing retailers’ concerns about the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging and commending retailers on their role in restricting access of tobacco products to young people.

The guidance is available for all retailers to download from the ACS website here: