Northern Ireland news

Tobacco packaging differences between EU and Britain leads to withdrawal of some products from Northern Ireland

A number of well-known cigarette and tobacco brands are being withdrawn from sale in the north. Picture by PA Photo/iStock

A NUMBER of well-known cigarette and tobacco brands are being withdrawn from sale in Northern Ireland due to Brexit and the Irish Sea border.

The move by JTI and Imperial Tobacco is the result of different packaging rules for goods sold in the EU and Britain.

Tobacco products in Northern Ireland must carry an EU health warning, which post-Brexit is different from Britain.

The cigarette manufacturers have therefore decided to "delist" less popular products, saying it isn't cost effective to package their products for the Northern Ireland market.

All the major cigarette brands will still be available but certain sizes of tobacco pouches and some cigar packs will no longer be available.

A statement from JTI said the different packaging requirements would mean a "very small additional reduction" in the range of its products available in the north.

"JTI's product range in Northern Ireland remains extensive and whenever we delist a product, we always take consumer needs into careful consideration to ensure we have a range of alternatives and pack formats/sizes available within our brand portfolio for adult consumers to choose from," it said.

The company declined to say which products it was withdrawing but the BBC said journalists had seen a list that included well-known brands such as Silk Cut, Benson & Hedges, Berkeley and Condor tobacco.

Imperial Tobacco also said the post-Brexit arrangements had impacted the packaging on goods it sends to Northern Ireland.

"In order to reduce the complexity involved, we are delisting a number of brand variants on offer in the region," it said.

"These products account for less than 5% of our total volumes in Northern Ireland and we remain committed to supplying a wide range of quality products to meet the needs of our consumers."

The Imperial brands affected include Richmond, JPS Superkings and Lambert & Butler.

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