Producers of tobacco market in Turkey is becoming acquainted with a number of amendments and new regulations with respect to labelling-packaging standards and product safety issues since when the Law Amending Certain Laws and Decree Laws on Health numbered 7151 has been published in the Official Gazette in Turkey on 5 December 2018.

The Law numbered 7151 amended some significant articles of the Law on Supervision and Preventing Harms of Tobacco Products numbered 4207 regarding restrictions on public appearance of tobacco products and regularized stricter rules on labelling and packaging of the tobacco.   

After the regulations regarding the packaging and labelling of the tobacco products has been amended by the Law numbered 7151, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (“the Ministry”) published a new regulation on 1 March 2019 and named it as the Regulation on Procedures and Principles Regarding the Supervision, Labelling and Type of Production of Tobacco Products (“the Regulation”) by annulling the former regulation which has been being in force since 2005. The Regulation, as distinct from the former regulation, includes more detailed and stricter provisions with regard to the product safety obligations of tobacco producer and synchronizes labelling rules according to the Law numbered 4207. The last of the consecutive changes is the amendment of the Regulation has been published on 27 June 2019 by the Ministry aims to prolong the compliance period to 5 December 2019 which is previously provided as 5 July 2019.

A. New Obligations of the Tobacco Producers

In accordance with the former regulation regarding the supervision and labelling of the tobacco products, the tobacco producers were obliged to submit the Ministry a report which shows all the ingredients and emissions of their products. While the new Regulation has conserved this as a main obligation, it has regularized new major obligations and details. It is understood that the new approach of the Ministry is exercising control over the tobacco producers and getting involved to the market by further inspection tools in order to ensure product safety.

The essential bullet points of the reporting procedure which must be followed by the tobacco producers are shown below under two stage:

1. Reporting Obligation on the Ingredient and Emission

  • The Tobacco producers have to report all the ingredients and emissions in a list for their each product to the Ministry each year.
  • The producers shall get permission from the Ministry at first in case they would like to make amendments for ingredients and emissions of their tobacco products.
  • The producers shall provide the Ministry a detailed technical report concerning the features of the used additive substances in the appendix of the ingredients list.
  • The producers shall inform the Ministry with respect to the measurement methods of emissions in the course of fulfilling the reporting obligation. The Ministry may oblige the producers to conduct further research in order to examine the effects of the ingredients to the human health.
  • The producers are obliged to inform the Ministry about the stock movements and quantity of the raw material, an amount of the product that dispatched from production site to the warehouses and the domestic warehouses, sale amount, export, import, return and banderol procedure.
  • In case that an electronic system is launched by the Ministry in order to keep, examine, analyse and publish the data that is obtained during the reporting procedure, the Ministry may burden expenses on the producers proportionally pursuant to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

2. Advanced Reporting Obligation on Selected Additive

  • The producers shall submit the Ministry a detailed technical report regarding the features of selected additives in addition to the ingredient and emission report mentioned above. The selected additives are the ones that may have an important effect on human health. They may be detected as per the specifications underlined in the Regulation or listed by the Ministry.
  • This report shall be submitted to the Ministry within 18 months as of the related additive is included to the Ministry’s selected additive list.
  • The producers who use the same privileged additive substance can prepare one technical report together.
  • In case a technical report is prepared and provided to the Ministry by one of the producers, the other producers will be held exempted from this obligation.
  • The Ministry may request these reports to be made subject to examination of another scientist board and may burden the expenses of the scientist board to the producers proportionally.

B. Labelling and Packaging Rules

New standards regarding the trademark use on the packages, such as colour and shape of the packages, details of the warning messages on the packages have been determinated according to the Regulation. All rules are related to both the products produced in Turkey and the imported to Turkey. Some of the essential bullet points are shown below under three stages:

1. Trademark Use on the Package

  • Trademark on the package of the tobacco products shall be written as follows;
    • Only to the front surface of the package under or beside the combined health warning together with the distinctive inscription
    • Without exceeding the 5% of the surface which it is on
    • With the colour of Pantone Cool Gray 2 C with a matte finish
    • In the same type size
    • By the Helvetica type font
    • Without using any mark except alphabet, numerals and “&” sign
    • Without embossing or using design
  • Trademark shall be written with the following font size in one line;
    • Maximum in 14 font size on the unit packages of cigarette
    • Maximum in 28 font size on the group packages of cigarette
    • Maximum in 30 font size on the unit packages of other tobacco products
    • Maximum in 60 font size on the group packages of other tobacco products
  • Distinctive inscription on the packages of the tobacco products shall be written as follows;
    • Under the trademark
    • 2 font size smaller than the trademark
    • With the colour of Pantone Cool Gray 2 C Mat at the last part
    • In the same type size
    • By the Helvetica type font
  • Trademark and distinctive inscription cannot be written anywhere else other than the place determined in the Regulation.
  • Trademark and distinctive inscription cannot have the following features;
    • Misguide or deceive the consumer and constitute a promotion of tobacco product by striking a false impression regarding the features, effects to human health, risks or emissions of tobacco product
    • Make the tobacco product attractive or encourage to use it
    • Contain or refer to an information in regard to the emissions of the nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide
    • Claim or refer to that a specific tobacco product is less harmful than any other
    • Claim or refer to that it is energizer, healer, natural, organic

2. Colour and Shape of the Package

  • The exterior surface colour of the unit packages and group packages of tobacco products must be written with Pantone 448 C Mat at the last part.
  • The inner surface colour of the unit packages and group packages which is made from carton must be kraft brown or Pantone 448 C Mat finish or white.
  • The parcel package must be kraft brown.
  • All the surface of a tobacco product must be plain and smooth without consisting of any embossing or design and the product cannot be shown from the outside.
  • The surface of the package cannot have a function which provides to change or enlarge the surface or to create a new surface.
  • The parcel package, a carton sealing tape, a parcel label, an exterior package, an inner package, a transparent group label, a tear tape, an aluminium folio of tobacco products cannot include any text, paragraph, inscription, shape, line, symbol, picture, figure, design or sign except of the ones determined under the Regulation.
  • The packages of the tobacco product cannot be produced from a material that makes a sound or smells.
  • The inks that becomes active when exposed to heat, appears in the process of time, appears as fluorescent must not be used on the unit and group packages of tobacco products.

3. Combined Health Warnings on the Packages

  • Unit or group packages of tobacco products may carry combined health warnings that involves a picture, a warning text and advisory call centre information for quitting smoking.
  • Combined health warnings must cover 85% of both largest front and back surfaces of the packages.
  • Both surfaces involves the same combined health warning.
  • Combined health warnings must be divided as 50% for the picture, 40% for the warning text and 10% for the “ALO 171 Advisory Call Centre to Quit Smoking” information.
  • Warning text and the advisory call centre information shall be written by bold Neue Frutiger Condensed type font. Warning text must be at least 6 font size and advisory call centre information must be at least 5 font size provided that the visibility of the texts is at utmost.

C. Compliance Process

The Regulation let the tobacco producers and importers to comply with the new rules until 5 December 2019. However, the products that are being complied with the former regulation cannot be released to the market as of 5 January 2020.

Accordingly, the following significant outcomes should be considered by the producers;

  • Producers shall apply to the Ministry in order to update their compliance certificate until 5 December 2019, otherwise their compliance certificate will be invalid. The certificate of conformity demonstrates that they have fulfilled the obligations in accordance with the Regulation and the products can be released to the market.
  • The tobacco products which are complied with the former regulation can be released to the market until 5 December 2019, but cannot be sold in the market after 5 January 2019.
  • The cigarettes which contains menthol can be released to the market until 5 December 2019, but cannot be sold in the market after 5 January 2020.
  • Producers or importers shall apply to the Ministry in order to change the distinctive inscription until 5 December 2019.