The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 24 November 2020

Labelling and packaging of tobacco products

Here you will find what requirements exist for the labelling and packaging of tobacco products. The packaging must have different health warnings depending on the type of tobacco product. Cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco must also have traceability markings and security features. There is also labelling that is not allowed. For cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, requirements are also set for the type of packaging and the amount of contents.

Underlying content:

Traceability and security feature

The page contains the following headings:

What is a health warning?

Manufacturers and importers are responsible for providing packaging for tobacco products with health warnings.

A health warning means a warning concerning the adverse effects on human health of a product or other undesired consequences of tobacco use. There are different types of health warnings:

  • text warnings
  • combined health warnings
  • general warnings and information texts

Which health warning the packaging should have depends on which category of tobacco product it is.

If it is a tobacco product that can be consumed by incineration, the health warning should also be combined with smoking cessation information.

The purpose of the health warnings is primarily to inform consumers about the risks of tobacco use.

General provisions on health warnings

The health warning:

  • must be printed
  • must not be removable or obliterated and must be fully visible, i.e. it must not be completely or partially hidden or broken by any other marking, nor may it in any way obscure or break any other marking;
  • must not be destroyed when the unit package is opened
  • should not have a punctuation at the end.

On unit packets of tobacco products other than cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco in pouches, the health warning may be affixed with stickers, provided that they cannot be removed.

Design of health warnings

The general warning, the information text, and the health warning shall be:

  • printed in bold Helvetica font
  • printed in black on a white background
  • printed with a font size that means that the text covers the largest possible proportion of the area that has been reserved for the health warning
  • located in the centre of the reserved area. On cuboid packages and any outer packaging, the general warning and the information text shall be parallel to the side edge of the unit or outer packaging, and
  • surrounded by a black frame with a width of 1 mm inside the area reserved for the warning (applies to cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and waterpipe tobacco and smokeless tobacco products), or
  • surrounded by a black frame with a width of not less than 3 mm and not more than 4 mm outside the area reserved for the warning (applies to other tobacco products for smoking).

Specific regulations for different types of tobacco products

In addition to what has been mentioned above, there are specific regulations for the different categories of tobacco products.

What about cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and waterpipe tobacco?

Requirements for the packaging and content of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco

A unit packet of cigarettes must be cuboid and consist of cardboard or soft material and contain at least 20 cigarettes. The packaging must not have an opening that can be closed again or resealed after it has been opened for the first time, other than by having a hinged lid that is attached to a box. The lid of a unit packet with a hinged lid may only be attached to the back of the packet.

A unit packet of roll-your-own tobacco must have the shape of a straight block, a cylindrical shape or the shape of a pouch. The packet must contain tobacco that weighs at least 30 grams.

Requirements for health warning

Packaging for cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and waterpipe tobacco shall carry:

  • a general warning,
  • an information text, and
  • a combined health warning including smoking cessation information.

General warning
Rökning dödar

Information text
Tobaksrök innehåller över 70 cancerframkallande ämnen

The general warning and the location and size of the information text shall be adapted to the type of packaging in which the cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or waterpipe tobacco are provided. Graphic presentations of the exact location of the general warning and information text on roll-your-own tobacco marketed in pouches are described in the EU Commission Implementing Decision 2015/1735.

EU Commission Implementing Decision 2015/1735

Combined health warning

A combined health warning consists of both a text warning and a corresponding photograph or illustration.

The combined health warnings are divided into three sets. Each set must be used in a given year and alternated on an annual basis. Each combined health warning that can be used during a given year should be displayed as many times as possible on each brand.
Manufacturers and importers of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and waterpipe tobacco who need access to the picture library´s three sets of high-resolution combined health warnings can e-mail our picture library.

The combined health warnings should:

  • Include one of the text warnings and the corresponding colour photo from the picture library.
  • Include smoking cessation information that refers to the Sluta-Röka-Linjen with contact information, for example:

Sluta-Röka-Linjen: 020-84 00 00 www.slutarokalinjen.se

  • Cover 65 % of both the outer front and back of the unit packet and any outer packaging. Cylindrical packaging must have two combined health warnings at the same distance from each other, and each health warning must cover 65 % of each half of the rounded surface.
  • Display the same warning text and the corresponding colour photo on both sides of the unit packet and any outer packaging.
  • Be reproduced on the upper edge of a unit packet and any outer packaging, and be placed on the same line as all other information on this surface of the package.
  • Be reproduced according to the technical specifications for the layout, form and design of the combined health warning in the EU Commission Implementing Decision 2015/1842.
  • On packets of cigarettes, have the following dimensions. Height: at least 44 mm. Width: at least 52 mm.

Brand names or logos must not be placed above health warnings.

Illustrations

Examples of combined health warnings
Exempel på kombinerade hälsovarningar

Illustration Editing of combined health warnings on smoking tobacco packaging (PDF, 13.4 MB)  
Illustration Editing of combined health warnings on smoked tobacco packaging (PDF, 13.4 MB)

is a non-binding document that shows how the combined health warning on packaging for cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and waterpipe tobacco can be placed and designed.

What applies to other tobacco products for smoking?

Other tobacco products for smoking refers to a tobacco product for smoking that is not cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or waterpipe tobacco, among other things

  • cigars
  • cigarillos
  • pipe tobacco.

Requirements for health warning

Each unit packet and any outer packaging for other tobacco products for smoking must carry the following markings:

  • general warning,
  • smoking cessation information, and
  • text warning.

General warning
Rökning dödar
Smoking cessation information

Sluta-Röka-Linjen: 020-84 00 00 www.slutarokalinjen.se

The general warning shall be reproduced on the most visible surface of the package and cover 30% of the relevant surface in which it is to be placed. The dimension must be calculated in relation to the affected area when the packaging is closed.

Text warning

The packaging must be provided with one of the following text warnings:

• Rökning är orsaken till 9 av 10 fall av lungcancer
• Rökning orsakar mun- och halscancer
• Rökning skadar lungorna
• Rökning orsakar hjärtinfarkt
• Rökning orsakar stroke och funktionsnedsättningar
• Rökning ger förträngningar i blodkärlen
• Rökning ökar risken för blindhet
• Rökning skadar tänderna och tandköttet
• Rökning kan döda ditt ofödda barn
• Rök skadar dina barn, din familj och dina vänner
• Barn till rökare röker oftare själva
• Sluta röka nu – lev vidare för dina nära och kära
• Rökning minskar fruktsamheten
• Rökning ökar risken för impotens

The text warning provided with the packaging must change, so that all 14 variants of the text warning are used and as many times as possible.

The text warning must be reproduced on the second most visible surface of the packaging and must cover 40 percent of the surface where it is to be placed. On unit packets with a hinged lid, the second most visible surface is the one that becomes visible when the package is open.
If the health warnings are to appear on a surface exceeding 150 cm2, the warnings shall cover an area of ​​45 cm2.

Illustrations

Tobacco products for smoking (e.g. cigars, cigarillos and pipe tobacco) - cylindrical unit packaging (PDF, 648 kB)
Tobaksvaror för rökning (exempelvis cigarrer, cigariller och piptobak) – cylinderformad styckförpackning (PDF, 648 kB)

Tobacco products for smoking (e.g. cigars, cigarillos and pipe tobacco) - rectangular unit packs with or without folding lid (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Tobaksvaror för rökning (exempelvis cigarrer, cigariller och piptobak) – rätblocksformade styckförpackningar med eller utan fällbart lock (PDF, 1,5 MB)

Tobacco products for smoking (e.g. cigars, cigarillos and pipe tobacco) - tubular unit packaging (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Tobaksvaror för rökning (exempelvis cigarrer, cigariller och piptobak) – tubformad styckförpackning (PDF, 1,1 MB)

What applies to smokeless tobacco products?

Smokeless tobacco products refers to a tobacco product that is not consumed by combustion, including:

  • chewing tobacco
  • nasal tobacco
  • tobacco for oral use, i.e. snus

Requirements for the amount of content for snus

A package with portion-packed snus must contain at least 20 portions.

Requirements for health warning

Each unit packet and any outer packaging of smokeless tobacco products shall have the following health warning:

Denna tobaksvara skadar hälsan och är beroendeframkallande

The health warning must be reproduced on the two largest surfaces on the packaging and cover 30 per cent of the surface where it is to be placed. The dimension must be calculated in relation to the affected area when the packaging is closed.

Illustrations

Snus and other smokeless tobacco products - cylindrical unit packet (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Snus och andra rökfria tobaksvaror – cylinderformad styckförpackning (PDF, 1,1 MB)

Snus and other smokeless tobacco products - rectangular unit packet (PDF, 664 kB)
Snus och andra rökfria tobaksvaror – rätblocksformad styckförpackning (PDF, 664 kB)

What applies to traceability and security features?

Unit packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco must, from 20 May 2019, be provided with a traceability marking and a security feature. If these markings are missing, the packet may not be sold.

The traceability system aims to enable the tobacco product to be traced from the manufacturing plant to the retail outlet. The security feature aims to facilitate the verification of whether a tobacco product is genuine.

Read more about traceability and security feature.
Läs mer om spårbarhets- och säkerhetsmärkning

What about product presentation?

The labelling on individual packets and any outer packaging of tobacco products (cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and waterpipe tobacco, other tobacco products for smoking and smokeless tobacco products), including the tobacco product itself, must not contain any ingredient or element that:

  • Promotes a tobacco product or encourages its consumption by creating an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, risks or emissions. Labels shall not include any information on the nicotine, tar or carbon monoxide content of the tobacco product.
  • Suggests that a particular tobacco product is less harmful than others or aims to reduce the effect of some harmful components of smoke or has vitalising, energetic, healing, rejuvenating, natural, organic properties or has other health or lifestyle benefits.
  • Is similar to a food or cosmetic product.
  • Suggests that a certain tobacco product has improved biodegradability or other environmental advantages.
  • Refers to taste, smell, any flavourings or other additives (does not apply to snus).
  • Suggests economic advantages by including printed vouchers, offering discounts, free distribution, two-for-one or other similar offers.

The elements that are forbidden can be texts, symbols, names, trademarks and figurative or non-figurative signs.

Packaging for tobacco for oral use, for example snus and chewing tobacco, must also be marked with, among other things, time and place of manufacture in accordance with the National Food Administration's regulations: 

Livsmedelsverkets föreskrifter (LIVSFS 2012:6) om snus och tuggtobak

The prohibition against referring to taste, aroma, or additives on the packaging or tobacco product does not apply to snus.

If the rules are not followed

During supervisory activities, the Public Health Agency and the municipality may decide on the injunctions or prohibitions necessary for manufacturers and importers to comply with the law or a regulation that has been issued on the basis of the law. We can also combine the decision on an injunction or prohibition with a fine.

What is a fine?

A fine is an amount of money that must be paid if one does not follow a decision by a supervisory authority. The fine is imposed by a court. The sum can be determined in advance and can be several thousand kronor.

The provisions on which this information is based

The provisions on labelling on tobacco products are found in Chapter 3 of the Act (2018: 2088) on tobacco and similar products

Ordinance (2019: 223) on tobacco and similar products

The Swedish Public Health Agency's regulations on the design of health warnings and the placement of health warnings on packaging of tobacco products (HSLF-FS 2016: 46)

The Swedish Public Health Agency's regulations on security features on unit packets of tobacco products (HSLF-FS 2019: 4)

Bestämmelserna om märkning på tobaksvaror finns i 3 kap. lagen (2018:2088) om tobak och liknande produkter

Förordning (2019:223) om tobak och liknande produkter

Folkhälsomyndighetens föreskrifter om utformning av hälsovarningar och hälsovarningars placering på förpackningar av tobaksvaror (HSLF-FS 2016:46)

Folkhälsomyndighetens föreskrifter om säkerhetsmärkning på styckförpackningar med tobaksvaror (HSLF-FS 2019:4)

You always have an obligation to know what applies by law. The information on this website is only intended to serve as an aid to you and does not replace what is stated in the law. There may also be other laws or regulations of other authorities that you need to be aware of. The Swedish Public Health Agency continuously updates the content, but we cannot guarantee that the information on the site is always completely up to date.