The Minister of Health, for almost half a year, has not signed the draft regulation introducing pictorial labels on packages of cigarettes and smoking tobacco. In view of the fact that both the business sector and the producers will not manage to adapt to new requirements, coming into effect from the end of February 2013, the Employers of Poland consider it necessary to change the term.
On June 22, 2011, the Ministry of Health sent for public consultation a draft regulation introducing graphic health warnings on tobacco packages. On 29 September, 2011, the Ministry of Health organized a reconciliation conference. The main postulate of entrepreneurs was to determine reasonable transition periods enabling to adjust to the requirements of the new law.
A reasonable time enabling the exchange and sale of old packaging combined with an annual replacement of products associated with the introduction of new excise labels was established (i.e. from 1 March, 2013). Unfortunately, for almost 6 months, the regulation has been waiting for the ministerial signature, with the result that entrepreneurs are no longer able to adapt to new requirements. They will not manage to prepare more than 400 designs of packaging with 14 different patterns of images and withdraw, within the proposed time limit, the products with old warnings. It is estimated that for this reason, manufacturers and 120 thousand retailers
dealing in cigarettes in Poland will lose in total over 200 million zlotys.
Therefore, the experts of the Employers of Poland suggest the renegotiation of the effective date of provisions, the more so as the European Union is working on a thorough revision of the tobacco directive, which will also bring new legal solutions concerning the design of packages.
- Thus, it is more prudent to wait and bring to Poland solutions compatible with the new EU requirements rather than once again change the rules, which will automatically mean millions of dollars in costs for manufacturers. Alternatively, if the work within the EU will continue to be slower than expected, it is possible to enter the pictorial labels at the next replacement of packaging associated with new excise marks, that is in February 2014 - say the experts of the Employers of Poland.