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Plain cigarette packs to hit shelves Saturday

A regulation requiring cigarettes to be sold in uniform plain packaging comes into effect this Saturday. However, brands already on the market will receive a temporary exemption, online daily hvg.hu reported.

In harmony with European Union regulations, Hungary is introducing measures under which menthol cigarettes will be banned and tobacco products can be sold only in uniform packaging in the country. The Hungarian government was first said to be planning such changes in June 2015. Professionals working in the tobacco industry have criticized the measures, claiming they will not reduce the consumption of tobacco products. 

Under the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), as of May 20, 2017, cigarette packets on sale should meet strict criteria. The TPD regulates that both the largest surfaces of tobacco product packets must contain warnings amounting to 65% of the surface area, while similar warnings must also appear on the top of packets. Hungary is also introducing uniform packaging – void of brand logos, with the product brand and all other type printed in a uniform font – and the banning of flavored cigarettes.

Already existing brands can be purchased by retailers in their current packaging until the end of the year, and can be sold until May 20, 2017, as part of a temporary exemption. By May 20, 2019, at the latest, all retailers need to conform with the regulations. By May 20, 2020, flavored cigarettes must disappear from shelves.