Belgium, fifth European country to adopt plain packaging

As of 1st January 2020, Belgium will be joining the growing number of countries that have adopted plain packaging and therefore be the fifth one in Europe, after France, the UK, Norway and Ireland, to have initiated such measure. This new regulation not only apply to conventional cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, tobacco for waterpipes, but also to related products such as rolling paper, cigarette tubes and filters.

Guidelines for implementation of Article 11 of the WHO FCTC (packaging and labelling of tobacco products) encourage “Parties to consider adopting measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style (plain packaging). This may increase the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings and messages, prevent the package from detracting attention from them, and address industry package design techniques that may suggest that some products are less harmful than others”.

The new legal requirements are applicable on all tobacco products put on the Belgian market from 1st January 2020. However, retailers have 12 months (until 31 December 2020) to sell their remaining old stock.