Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Tobacco Law and Package Labelling

Health Warnings Law

When do the sixteen Health Messages come into effect?

Commencing September 26, 2022, all tobacco products manufactured, imported, sold, commercially supplied or distributed in Trinidad and Tobago are required by law to display Health Messages and images, together with all the other packaging and labelling requirements contained in the Tobacco Control Act, Chapter 30:04 and Regulations.

Who is required to ensure that these Health Messages are placed on the cigarette packs?

All tobacco licence holders at the point of manufacture.

What are your obligations as a retailer as it relates to the Health Messages?

Ensure that you don’t acquire tobacco products that are not packaged and labeled with the Health Messages after September 26, 2022. (Section 23(2) of the Tobacco Control Act 2009.)

As a retailer, from who should you purchase tobacco products ?

Any company in possession of either a manufacturer, wholesale or distributor licence.

How do you use the sixteen health messages and images?

Pursuant to Regulation 6(1) of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2013 Regulation 6(1) of the Tobacco Control Regulation 2013 [as amended by the Tobacco Control (Amendment) Regulations 2019], the prescribed Health Messages and images are divided into two sets, A and B. Both sets are to be rotated in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Regulations.

Accordingly:

  • Year 1 = Set A to commence on September 26, 2022 and end on September 25, 2023. The phasing out period to commence from the eighth month of the said year wherein Set B would be introduced commencing on May 26, 2023;
  • Year 2 = Set B to commence on September 26, 2023 and end on September 25, 2024. The phasing out period to commence from the eighth month of the said year wherein Set A would be introduced commencing on May 26, 2024.
  • Section 37(2) of the Tobacco Control Act Chapter 30:04 provides that any person who acts in contravention of the Act commits an offence

The Sale of Tobacco Products

Are you committing an offence if you sell non-compliant tobacco products?

Section 23 of the Tobacco Control Act Chapter 30:04 provides that it is an offence to sell, offer for sale, supply or import and acquire any tobacco products that do not comply with the packaging and labelling requirements of the Act and Regulations.

Does the law apply to persons who sell single cigarettes?

Individual cigarettes/cigars for sale must be wrapped with the message “SMOKING IS DANGEROUS” according to Regulations 5(6) of the Tobacco Control Regulation 2013 as amended.

Do you have the seller sign?

Regulation 10 (1) of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2013 as amended provided that you are to ensure that you have the following seller’s sign in a prominent place in the part of the premises where you sell your tobacco products in bold upper case letters “THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS IS PROHIBITED”

Section 37(2) of the Act provides that any person who acts in contravention of the Act commits an offence.

Wholesale Providers of Tobacco Products

Do you need a licence if you sell tobacco products in bulk quantities?

Yes, Section 10(1) of the Tobacco Control Act Chapter 30:04 requires that no person shall manufacture, import, export or distribute tobacco products at wholesale without first having been issued a licence.

Which entities are required to have tobacco licences?

Section 10(10) of the Act requires that no person shall sell any tobacco product to or purchase or acquire any tobacco product from, any manufacturer, distributor, importer, exporter or wholesale who is not licensed under the Act.

Does selling bulk tobacco products without a licence constitute an offence?

Yes, Section 37(2) of the Act provides that any person who acts in contravention of the Act commits an offence.

Cigarette Dispenser at Place of Business

Where should the Health Messages be placed on the cigarette dispenser?

Regulation 9(3)(b) of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2013 as amended requires that the health messages and images are to be depicted on the cigarette dispensers and rotated in accordance with Schedule 2

Placement on cigarette dispensers

  • Health messages on cigarette dispensers are to be depicted with the front image covering the entire front of the cigarette dispenser and the back image covering the entire back of the dispenser.
  • Where the back of the cigarette dispenser cannot be viewed by anyone for example, same is placed against a backdrop, both the front and the back image of the health message be placed side by side covering the entire front of the cigarette dispenser.
  • Health messages shall be visible and resized to cover the front and/ or back dimensions of the cigarette dispenser, which display surface should in any event not exceed 1 cubic metre.

How many cigarette dispensers is allowed at each establishment?

Regulation 9(4) of the Regulations requires there should be no more than one (1) cigarette dispenser provided per outlet.

What should the cigarette dispenser look like?

Regulations 9 states a cigarette dispenser’s surface displace area shall not exceed 1 cubic metre, shall be white or grey and made of opaque material, shall not bear any trade marks, company logos or other identifying marks of tobacco products and shall have health messages depicted on them.

Section 37(2) of the Tobacco Control Act Chapter 30:04 provides that any person who acts in contravention of the Act commits an offence.

Online Purchase of Tobacco Products in Trinidad and Tobago

Can you purchase tobacco products over the internet?

Section 16 of the Tobacco Control Act Chapter 30:04 provided that:

  • No person shall purchase any tobacco product through any self-service means, including the mail, the internet or automatic vending machines.
  • The Minister may by Order prohibit any other means of sale where the age of the purchaser of a tobacco product cannot be verified at the point of sale.

As such there is an absolute prohibition on the sale of tobacco products via the internet in Trinidad and Tobago

Section 37(2) of the Act provides that any person who acts in contravention of the Act commits an offence.

Is it a breach of the Tobacco Control Act Chap 30:04 to have a webpage offering tobacco products for sale?

Yes, Section 19. No person shall initiate, produce, publish, engage or participate in any tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship.

HEAD OFFICE

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