Abstract : The new regulation in Tobacco Industry which is long been expected has finally took place and “standard package” practice has officially entered into force in Turkey. According to the new regulation published in the Official Gazette on March 1, 2019, the warnings on cigarette packets will be increased from 65 percent to 85 percent and the amendments envisaged by the Regulation will be implemented on 5 December 2019. With this new practice, it is aimed to increase the areas of health warnings on the packages and to eliminate the attractive and misleading features of cigarette packets through colors and graphics. In addition, the Regulation re-regulates the maximum tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide emission levels that tobacco products can contain, and the measurement methods of these ingredients and the obligation to report this information to the Ministry.
“Regulation on the Procedures and Principles Related to the Production Methods, Labelling and Inspection of Tobacco Products” prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has been published in the Official Gazette on March. With the amendment regulation published on 27.06.2019, considerable changes on the original regulation has been introduced. In this regard, standard packaging practice with its latest version and other important regulations will be covered in our article. The Regulation with its latest version mainly contains regulations on tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigar, cigarillo, hookah tobacco, pigtail and aims to eliminate the attractiveness of the tobacco products.
In accordance with the most current version of the Regulation, the new regulations are as follows:
- While the ratio of the health warnings which has been applied to both sides of the tobacco product’s packages was previously %65, it is now determined as %85 and it shall be displayed on both surface of the package.
- The color and shade of the tobacco products’ individual packs and cartons shall be Pantone 448 C with Mat finish; which is a kind of dark-brown (and “the ugliest color in the world” according to Wikipedia), while the inner surface color of the individual packages and cartons made of cardboard material shall be kraft coffee, Pantone 448 C Matt finish or white.
- Tobacco companies’ own brands shall be placed, on the outer packaging of tobacco packs only on the front surface of the package and not exceeding 5 percent of this surface, in the area bellow or next to the combined health warnings that we used to see on the tobacco packages such as “Smoking Kills” in color of Pantone Cool Gray 2 C Matt finish which is a kind of light grey. The typing of these brands will now be uniform with no distinction between the cigarette companies, with the first letter of the word in upper case and the others in lower case, in uniform font, the type, font, size and position on the package as standard, without using any sign or characteristic other than alphabetic, numerical and ”&“ sign nor embossing and lamination.
- While the current cigarette packages include content value information which covers %10 of the side surface of the cigarette packages, now this side surface will be used for health warning messages regarding cigarettes and general warnings and they will cover %50 of this side surface. In this context, the content value information part which currently covers 10% of the side surface will be completely removed.
- All kinds of signs such as logo, brand, color, brand symbol including other fonts and shapes, which have gained a certain recognition over the years of each tobacco company, shall be converted into a new standard package format designed in the same way. Marks other than the name of the brand which has been typed as standard shall not be placed on the tobacco products’ packages in any way.
- The new regulation sets new standards not only in packaging but also in cigarette contents. Accordingly, for each cigarette, the maximum emissions will not exceed 10 mg. tar, 1 mg nicotine and 10 mg carbon monoxide while the maximum emission values of each single cigarette was 12 mg. tar, 1 mg nicotine and 10 mg carbon before.
- As fundamental and important a change as the standard package, flavored cigarettes with a characterizing flavor and cut rag tobacco products (mainly menthol and vanilla), and vitamins and other additives that give the impression that a tobacco product is health-beneficial or less health-risk. , caffeine or other additives related to energy and vitality, and stimulant compounds, which contain coloring properties or additives that facilitate the inhalation or nicotine intake of tobacco products will not be presented to the market after the deadline of 05.01.2020.
- Standard package practice will start at the latest on 05.12.2019 and after 05.01.2020 there will be no old-style packages and tobacco products that do not comply with the criteria specified in the Regulation will be destroyed.
Based on our explanations above, it is turning out to be increasingly difficult for tobacco product manufacturers to market their brands and tobacco products in the Turkish market, bearing in mind the restrictions that already exist on advertisements. The market players are likely to explore alternative marketing and advertising venues and options in order to be able to display their presence in the Turkish market.