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Monday 23.01.2017 | Name days: Strauta, Grieta
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Association: multiple kinds of cigarettes will no longer be available in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Friday, 20 May, European Council’s Tobacco Directive will come into force. This directive will add certain changes to trade rules for tobacco products in Latvia – cigarette packs will have a new design and multiple kinds of cigarettes will no longer be available in Latvia.

The tobacco directive provides that cigarette packages will have to include two times larger warnings regarding the negative effect of smoking. The directive states that warnings will have to be placed on the front and back of packages, taking up 65% of space, as noted by the National Association for Tobacco Product Manufacturers.

In accordance with the new order, after 20 May only tobacco products manufactured before 20 May will be allowed to be sold in packages with current design. Because the stores of tobacco products with current packages in Latvia are not large, it is expected the first products with new package design could appear in the middle of summer.

Small (10 cigarette) packages will be completely removed from shelves. Menthol cigarettes will be removed from shelves during a transition period, which will be the 12 months of 2020.

The law with which requirements of the European directive will be added to the country’s national legislation, was announced only seven days prior to it coming into force. Requirements of the Cabinet of Ministers that describe new technical specifications, on the other hand, were announced two days prior to the term after which it will no longer be allowed to manufacture packages with the old design. Considering that manufacturers require up to twelve months to re-calibrate their machinery to suit the new requirements, Latvia risked tax revenue worth millions of euros with delays.

Last year, the National Association for Tobacco Product Manufacturers had requested Healthcare Ministry, the Prime Minister and the Saeima to develop and approve new legislative regulations. TIRNA explained that it is not possible to form large stores of products with the previous design. This is why delays with legislative solutions would only lead to a deficit of legally produced products and thereby create tax revenue losses to the state over a long period of time, especially if legal products are quickly replaced with contraband.

In order to prevent the formation of deficit, manufacturers carried out adaptation of their manufacturing means based on non-existing regulations. TIRNA expressed satisfaction that technical specifications added to requirements of the Cabinet of Ministers comply with guidelines in accordance with which manufacturing equipment has been re-calibrated.

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