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Latest News and Updates


December 20, 2022 - Mauritius delays the implementation of plain packaging regulations 

An amendment to the public health regulations means that the plain packaging requirements for tobacco products manufactured, imported, and sold in Mauritius will take effect on May 31, 2023.  The previous effective dates were December 31, 2022 (manufacturers and importers) and March 1, 2023 (retailers).  Also, the amendment exempts certain tobacco products sold only in duty-free shops from the plain packaging requirements.  


November 29, 2022 – Implementation of plain packaging is again delayed in Georgia 

After amending the national law in 2017 to require plain packaging, the date for the law to take effect in Georgia has been postponed again. Most recently, the plain packaging requirements were to become effective on December 31, 2022.  With the recent amendment to the law, the plain packaging provisions will now enter force on July 31, 2024 for both manufacturers and retailers.  


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October 19, 2022 – Uruguayan court halts the presidential Decree which weakened the plain packaging regulations

In response to the presidential Decree 282/022 (Decree), which weakened plain packaging regulations in Uruguay (discussed in the previous post), the Sociedad Uruguaya de Tabacología (SUT) initiated a strategic litigation and communications campaign seeking to invalidate the Decree.  SUT filed an administrative claim (to exhaust all available administrative remedies) and a rapid constitutional lawsuit requesting an injunction to prevent implementation of the Decree until the administrative challenge is decided. 

On October 19, 2022, the court decided on the constitutional lawsuit and issued an injunction. The injunction, which the Uruguayan State chose not to appeal, halts the implementation of the Decree until a determination is made in the administrative claim (which may take two years). The court’s landmark decision established that the Decree unlawfully and unconstitutionally jeopardized children’s and adolescents’ rights and infringed on Uruguay’s national legal framework and international obligations under health and human rights law. This decision is an important precedent for Uruguay and the region, celebrated by academia, international organizations, and public health advocates locally and regionally.

More information on this significant decision can be found here.


September 6, 2022 - Mexico seeks to introduce plain packaging 

Senator Lilia Margarita Valdez Martínez presented a bill to amend the Mexican General Law for Tobacco Control to introduce plain packaging provisions and increase pictorial warnings from 30% of the surface to 50%.  


September 2, 2022 - Uruguay amends its plain packaging regulations, weakening the law 

On December 21, 2019, Uruguay became the first country in Latin America to implement plain packaging. Yet, on September 2, 2022, a new presidential Decree was adopted amending the plain packaging regulations. The Decree permits “distinctive elements” to be printed on cigarettes or inside the box. Furthermore, the Decree removed previous restrictions on packaging, including those addressing the type of opening and material. The Decree is effective immediately.


May 20, 2022 – Mauritius is the second African country to adopt plain packaging regulations

On May 20, 2022, the Mauritius government approved new public health regulations introducing plain packaging requirements for tobacco products, making Mauritius the second African country to adopt plain packaging measures. In addition, the regulations require significant health warnings (occupying 70 percent to 100 percent of surface areas) for tobacco products. The regulations are effective on December 31, 2022, for tobacco products manufactured and imported into Mauritius and on March 31, 2023, for those sold in Mauritius.


May 16, 2022 – Plain packaging regulations are approved in Georgia

On May 16, 2022, Georgia’s government approved technical regulations requiring the plain packaging of tobacco products, excluding e-cigarettes. The regulations are effective December 31, 2022 and will require standardized colors (Pantone 448C) and fonts on the packaging.


April 13, 2022 – Finland to require plain packaging for tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and refill containers 

On April 13, 2022, Finland amended its Tobacco Act and will require plain packaging for tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and retail containers. A separate decree will be issued to address technical matters, such as the layout of the packages.  The Amendment to the Tobacco Act will take effect May 1, 2022, and regulations on uniform packaging will take effect on May 1, 2023. 

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March 23, 2022 - Costa Rica’s Social Matters Commission of the National Assembly held a hearing on the plain packaging bill 

On March 23, 2022, a hearing was held in the Social Matters Commission of the National Assembly to defend Costa Rica’s Bill 22,497. This Bill includes provisions for standardized plain packaging in Costa Rica.  This video was prepared by the International Legal Consortium’s Gianella Severini and was presented at the hearing to effectively counter the tobacco industry’s intense lobbying and arguments against plain packaging. Hearings will continue at the Committee level throughout April 2022. Hearings continued at the Committee level throughout April 2022.  The Bill for standardized plain packaging will be revisited in August 2022 when the new parliament is installed.

Update: The plain packaging bill was approved by the Social Matters Commission. The next step is for it to be discussed in the plenary.


January 26, 2022 – Côte D’Ivoire becomes the first African country to require plain packaging on tobacco products  

On January 26, 2022, Côte D’Ivoire’s Council of Ministers adopted a decree establishing rules for the plain packaging of tobacco products.  Further Ministerial Orders are required to provide the pack color and implementation dates.

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January 1, 2022 – Hungary requires plain packaging for all brands of cigarettes and rolling tobacco    

In 2016, Hungary adopted plain packing laws, which applied to new brands/variants which entered the market.  Following a delay in implementation, as of January 1, 2022, all brands must have plain packaging.   These rules apply to cigarettes and rolling tobacco. 

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2020 through January 2022 – The Netherlands has implemented plain packaging laws for cigarettes, rolling tobacco, e-cigarettes, and cigars  

In March 2020, a Decree adopted in the Netherlands provided powers to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes and rolling tobacco.  Conditions for the plain packaging were set out in April 2020 and required that packaging for these products be dark green-brown (Pantone 448 C) and include mandatory health warnings (pictorial and text). The rules were to be implemented by manufacturers by October 1, 2020, and retailers by October 1, 2021.  

Effective January 2022, the Netherlands also required plain packaging for e-cigarettes and cigars.  

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December 2021 – Tobacco industry sues Denmark’s Ministry of Health over tobacco regulations 

In December 2021, British American Tobacco (BAT) and its subsidiaries (House of Prince A/S and Nicoventures Holdings) sued the Danish Ministry of Health. BAT alleged that provisions of Denmark’s new tobacco control laws are illegal, mainly those which regulate emerging tobacco and nicotine products. As detailed below, beginning in 2020, Denmark adopted laws and regulations requiring the plain packaging of traditional and emerging tobacco and nicotine products, including HTPs and e-cigarettes. This is being challenged in the lawsuit. The case is pending and a decision has not been issued.


2020 through 2021 - Denmark introduces plain packaging for tobacco products and e-cigarettes  

In December 2020, a law introducing plain packaging was passed by parliament in Denmark.  Subsequently, detailed rules for tobacco products (including HTPs but excluding cigars and pipe tobacco) and e-cigarettes were adopted on March 22, 2021, and April 19, 2021, respectively.

Manufacturers must implement the rules for tobacco products by July 1, 2021, and retailers by April 1, 2022. For e-cigarettes, manufacturers must implement the rules by October 1, 2021, and retailers by October 1, 2022.  


July 1, 2020 – Singapore becomes the latest country to implement plain packaging in full

In July, Singapore became the latest country to fully implement plain packaging and the sixth country in 2020 so far. Here is an example of the new packs:


January 8, 2020 – Israel becomes the first country to require plain packaging for e-cigarettes 

Israel has taken the bold step of being the first country to apply its plain packaging law to e-cigarettes as well as all tobacco products and tobacco accessories. This is a sensible policy step that will allow e-cigarettes to remain available to smokers that want to use them to quit cigarettes completely, but will deter young people from taking up vaping and becoming addicted to nicotine. In addition to e-cigarettes, the law also applies to packs of heated cigarettes used with systems such as IQOS, and tobacco accessories such as cigarette papers. 

The government has published a guide to the new rules with pictures showing how each product should look.


January 1, 2020 – New year brings fresh round of implementation for plain packaging laws

2020 brings implementation of plain packaging laws in a number of countries. Packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco on retailers’ shelves will be in plain packaging in Slovenia (from January 1), and all tobacco products will be in plain packaging in Saudi Arabia (from January 1), Turkey (from January 5) and Israel (from January 8 – see above). Full implementation at retailer level came into effect later in the year for Canada (February 7) and for Singapore (July 1).

Here are images of the new packs from around the world: 



December 21, 2019 – Plain packs on the shelves in Thailand and Uruguay 

Two firsts – Uruguay became the first country in Latin America to implement plain packaging on December 21, 2019, and Thailand became the first country in Asia on December 8, 2019. Congratulations to all those in government and civil society organizations for their tireless efforts to battle the tobacco industry and get this common sense policy in place.