News & Events

The plain packaged cigarette regulation changed  14.12.2018. (2019.07.03.)

In Hungary, Government Decree 39/2013 (II. 14.) on the Production, Placing on the Market and Control of Tobacco Products, on Combined Warnings, and the Detailed Provisions on the Application of Healthcare Penalties contains the elements required for the introduction of plain packaging.

The new brand and new subtypes of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco that were placed on the market before 19 August 2016, as of 20 May 2018, and the new products that are put on the market after 20 August 2016 can only be packaged in a plain package.

As of January 01, 2022, all cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco can only be packaged in a plain package.

Example: PDF

The first plain packaged cigarette was released in July in Hungary! (2017.07.14.)

In Hungary, Government Decree 39/2013 (II. 14.) on the Production, Placing on the Market and Control of Tobacco Products, on Combined Warnings, and the Detailed Provisions on the Application of Healthcare Penalties contains the elements required for the introduction of plain packaging.

The new brand and new subtypes of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco that were placed on the market before 19 August 2016, as of 20 May 2018, and the new products that are put on the market after 20 August 2016 can only be packaged in a plain package.

As of May 20, 2019, all cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco can only be packaged in a plain package.

Example: PDF



Hungary has finalized plain packaging requirements. (17.08.2016.)

Hungary joins Australia, UK and France that have already implemented plain packaging.  Ireland is awaiting a commencement date.  Many other countries are in progress.

A new legislation will come into the force about the packaging of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products on 20 August 2016 in accordance with the adopted EU directive. The Government Decree among others regulate the mandatory specifications of the packaging of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products. From 20 May 2017 only those products may only be placed on the market if fulfils the requirements of the Decree. Based on that 65 percent of both the external front and back surface of the unit packet covered by the combined health warnings.

Furthermore the Hungarian legislation introduce the plain packaging of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products. The brand name and product name must marked with the specified colour and font. Besides that prohibited to use any other logo, colour, brand image or promotional information on the packaging.

Those new brand tobacco product which are placed on the market before 19 August 2016 from 20 May 2018, those which will place on the market after 20 August 2016 introduce to the market in packaging without brand name and trademark. From 20 May 2019 all the cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products may only be place on the market in plain package.

The implementation dates for Hungary are as follows:

·         effectively practically immediately, the new 65% picture warnings apply at the manufacturer level

·         effective May 20, 2017, the new 65% picture warnings apply at the retailer level

·         effective May 20, 2019, plain packaging is required

Hungary’s new requirements have been included as part of a Decree that includes provisions related to implementation of the new EU Directive. Here is a link to the Hungary Gazette of August 16, 2016 (see Decree starting at p.11993):…

"WHO Regional Office for Europe 
Article 8: Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke - the story of Hungary (2014)
Download English (PDF, 5.8 MB)
Hungary has been party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control since 2005. In recent years, the Government of Hungary has adopted and implemented a series of strong tobacco-control measures. The most important of these are the smoking ban in indoor public places and some outdoor public places, the significant tax increase on cigarettes, the inclusion of combined warnings (text and pictures) on cigarette packages, and the drastic reduction in the number of stores selling tobacco products. This case study focuses on the most important of these measures, namely, the smoking ban, which has resulted in decreases in the rates of smokers among the population and the rate of cigarette smoking; in addition, it has had a positive impact on employment in the hospitality industry and hospitality venues, and on the incomes of the hospitality industry and accommodation services."

World No Tobacco Day awards was given to Dr Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary (May 2013)

In 2013, the WHO (World Health Organization) supported World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) awards was given to Dr Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary.

The awards are given to individuals and institutions selected for long-term commitment and outstanding contribution the fight against the global tobacco epidemic and in the promotion of tobacco control initiatives and policies.

In 2012, Hungary achieved outstanding progress in tobacco control, implementing a ban on smoking in all public places. Despite the fact that Hungary ratified WHO FCTC in 2004, several attempts for complying with the Treaty failed, partly due to strong tobacco industry interference in all sectors. Dr Viktor Orban as Prime Minister of Hungary played a key role to break this vicious circle and ensured that tobacco control is a priority issue for the Government’s agenda.

Dr Orban’s personal involvement and strong support to amend the existing legislation to comply with WHO FCTC, followed by an intensive debate the Parliament resulted in adoption of  the amendment of the Act on the Protection of Non-Smokers in April 2011. Dr Orban continues actively to support  the enforcement and monitoring of this new law. In addition, he strongly supported an important increase of the excise tax on tobacco products in the past eighteen months  as well as regulating the sale and distribution of tobacco products and introducing pictorial warnings on tobacco products.

HUNGARY – New regulation of tobacco sales introduced (April 2013)

APRIL 2013 – On 22 April 2013, in line with Act CXXXIV “on reducing smoking prevalence among young people and retail of tobacco products” (adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on 11 September 2012), the National Tobacco Trading Nonprofit Company (a 100% Government-owned joint-stock company established by the relevant minister under the mandate of this law) published the names of the applicants who will be allowed to open supervised tobacco stores. From 1 July 2013, around 7000 such stores will begin to operate.

The Act regulates access to and sales of tobacco products and aims to prevent illicit trade in such products by ensuring that they are sold through licensed shops of a supervised system. It is also expected that as a result of the measures contained in the Act it will become more difficult for young people to purchase tobacco products. Sales of tobacco products will only be allowed to people above 18 years of age. If there is any doubt, official documents showing the age of the customer must be provided. Fines may be imposed if retailers do not adhere to this provision.

Pictures or any other depiction of tobacco products or smoking on the external surface of the stores are not allowed. Besides tobacco products, they will only be authorized to sell gambling games, alcoholic drinks, energy drinks, coffee, mineral water and soft drinks, newspapers and magazines.

The text of the Act, in Hungarian, is available here:


The Parliament adopted the amendment of the Act on the Protection of Non-Smokers (Act XLII of 1999), which came into effect on 1st January 2012. (2012.01.01.)

The Hungarian Act on the protection of non-smokers adopted in 1999 as one of the first in Europe and in the world, and some of its minor amendments did no longer comply with the professional recommendations of the European Commission and the WHO. With the amendment the provisions on spatial restriction of smoking toughened significantly.

Total smoking ban:

  • public education institutions (E.g.:kindergarten, elementary school and highschool) and within 5 meters of their external borderlines
  • —  child care, child welfare  institutions (E.g.: infants’ nursery) and within 5 meters of their external borderlines
  • —  hospitality venues, health care providers (E.g.: hospital)and within 5 meters of their external borderlines, no smoking area may be designated even in open air spaces at the premises of health service providers
  • —  public transport in local public transport services, on trains in local railway services, on buses/coaches in domestic intercity public transport services based on service schedules as well as on passenger trains in scheduled railway services
  • —  in enclosed areas of workplaces
  • —  in enclosed areas of public institutions and within 5 meters of their external borderlines
  • —  public playgrounds and within 5 meters of their external borderlines
  • —  in areas of railway stations that are open to the public, in bus, tramway and trolley bus stops and waiting areas, and within 5 meters of their external borderlines
  • —  in underpasses open to passenger traffic and in other connection spaces of public passageways with enclosed air spaces
  • —  in rooms of public institutions that are open to the public

Smoking area may be designated:

A) in an open air space

  • —  public institutions (yard)
  • —  workspaces (yard)
  • —  multipurpose health institutions ( yard)

B) in an enclosed air space

  • —  for prisoners and detained persons (including those with mental disorders) of penal institutions, police stations, detention centres and guarded accommodations,
  • —  for psychiatric patients in psychiatric institutions,
  • —  for employees at workplaces where the corrected effective temperature is over 24C° and –with certain conditions – at workplaces and establishments with risk or increased risk of fire and/or explosion


Smoking is allowed without any warnings, in enclosed air space :

  • —  institutions offering smoking allowed enclosed air space accomodation with warnings


Related to the decision of the owner/manager/employer:

  • —  local government can decide about non-smoking areas in public places
  • —  owner of public transport (taxi, private bus) can design smoking area on their own public transport facilities
  • —  manager of the public institute can decide about the non-smoking status of the building, in this case, it is not necessary to design smoking area
  • —  the empoyer can decide about the non-smoking status of the workplace, in this case the employee is not allowed to smoke in the entire workplace area.


Full text of the Act on the Protection of Non-Smokers:

You can find more information:


Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2012, Hungary (age group 13-15)

The survey was first conducted by WHO and the American CDC in 1998. The data collection is executed regularly in every country taking part in the project (Hungary joined the project in 2003). GYTS Hungary provides data on prevalence of cigarette and other tobacco product use as well as information on five determinants of tobacco use: access/availability and price, second-hand smoke exposure, cessation, media and advertising and school curriculum. These results are components Hungary could use in a comprehensive tobacco control program. The third Hungarian round of GYTS 2012 was a school-based survey of students in 7th, 8th and 9th grade. We used a two-stage stratified cluster sample design that produced samples of students in grades 7, 8, or 9 associated with children aged 13-15 years. Sampling frame included all Hungarian schools with any identified grades stratified by grades and settlement categories representing different urban and rural areas in Hungary. In the first stage the probability of schools selected was proportional to the number of students enrolled in the specified grades and to the settlement category. In the second sampling stage, one class within the selected schools was selected randomly. The school response rate was 94%, the class response rate was 99%, the student response rate was 88%. A total of 3,844 students completed the 2012 Hungary GYTS of which 2,325 (60%) were aged 13-15.

Some key findings: 57% of respondents have ever tried smoking (boys =61%, girls =52%). 35% of respondents currently use some kind of tobacco product (boys =41%, girls =30%). 13% of respondents usually smoke at home. In the case of 44% of respondents, others smoke in their presence at home. 42% of respondents want to stop smoking. 70% of respondents have ever seen anti-smoking media messages on the television. 64% of them participated with their class in lessons about the dangers of smoking in the past year. 4,7% of the 13-15 years old Hungarian young people who never smoke tobacco product used e-cigarette in the last 30 days in 2012 May.

Further information (in Hungarian):


Adult Population Smoking Survey, 2012

The aim of the survey was to study the smoking habits of the Hungarian adult population (17+). The questionnaire data collection was carried out by TÁRKI Social Research Institute by the order and professional leadership of the National Institute for Health Development. Data collection took place in February-March 2012. The number of people answering the questionnaire within the survey was 1543. Based on the sample, assessments are related to the Hungarian adult population, excluding those living in an institution.The survey includes detailed information on the following topics: intensity and prevalence of smoking; passive smoking; support of smoking restrictions; support of compulsory uniform packing of tobacco products and the spatial regulation of distribution; smoking cessation. Key findings include that the rate of daily smokers among men has shown a declining tendency since 2000, while there has been no significant change in this among women. In 2012, 71.1% of the population was a non-smoker; 27.6% were daily smokers and 1.3% smoked occasionally.  Two third of smokers (66%) light a cigarette in their own homes. 12% of non-smokers inhales tobacco smoke at home, as well. Both smokers and non-smokers are in favour of restrictions on smokinginhealth care, public education and other public institutions as well as in playgrounds.Only 20% of smokers and 40% of non-smokers are in favour of the proposal for the compulsory uniform packing of tobacco products. In the last 6 month preceding the polling, one fourth (25%) of daily smokers and nearly half of occasional smokers (40%) tried to stop smoking.

Further information (in Hungarian):

The social burden of smoking in Hungary 2012

According to international standards, smoking evidently causes diseases in 15 diagnosis groups.  An expert analysis was developed to assess the burden of these diseases deriving from smoking, as regards the use of health care services and mortality in 2010, considering relating costs, as well. In order to calculate the rate of burden deriving from smoking, results of the 2009 European Health Interview Survey as regards smoking habits as well as risk values used in international practice had to be considered, which show how much the likelihood of developing a disease is increased by smoking. The cost analysis focused on the direct and indirect costs of smoking and assessing the state revenue in 2010. Some of the key findings are as follows:

The number of people died of smoking in 2010 in Hungary was 20,470, which means one sixth of total mortality (16%). Years of life lost due to premature deaths caused by smoking was 340,000 in 2010. On average, smoker men shortened their lives with 16 years, and smoker women with at least 19 years. The balance of individual and state expenditure deriving from smoking in Hungary and income was HUF 80 billion loss in 2010.

Further information (in Hungarian):


The catastrophic situation in public health can be tackled (26.04.2011.)

(Based on the official statement issued by the State Secretariat Responsible for Health of the Ministry of National Resources)

On 26th April the Hungarian Parliament modified the Act on the Protection of Non-smokers with an extremely high majority (84% yes votes). With this act we might succeed in tackling the catastrophic situation in Hungary’s public health – emphasized Miklós Szócska, State Secretary responsible for Health at the press conference held on the modification of the Act on the Protection of Non-smokers. Each law is as much worth as it is observed, therefore the State Secretariat Responsible for Health will use the next 8 months - until the law comes into force - to intensively disseminate information in order to prevent its violation. As cessation is to be fostered the State Secretariat will do its best to provide help for those planning to quit smoking.

The aim of the new, strict regulation is to protect non-smokers and those who need special protection either due to their age or health status against the harmful effects of second-hand smoking, and to foster exercising the constitutional rights to health and healthy environment.

The new restricted regulations are not against smokers, rather in their favour. As a result of the modification it will be forbidden to smoke indoors from 1st January 2012 in

  • publicly accessible premises of public institutions,
  • on all means of public transportation,
  • at workplaces,
  • in underpasses for pedestrians and other publicly used conjunctive spaces,
  • furthermore at public playgrounds, and within a 5 meters zone around them.

It will also be prohibited to smoke in areas used by passengers at railway stations, i.e. at platforms, railway underpasses, as well as in bus, tramway and trolley-bus stops, waiting areas and within a 5 meters zone around them.

It is not allowed to designate smoking areas at

  • indoor premises of public institutions and workplaces,
  • at means of local public transportation,
  • in coaches, local trains and passenger ones running on schedule.

Smoking areas cannot be designated even in open spaces in public educational, child care and child protection institutions, as well as at healthcare service providers, e.g. at surgeries of general practitioners, specialists, and in hospitals. A smoking area can be designated indoors only for detained persons in prisons – including those with pathological mental state – and for patients in psychiatries

At those workplaces which were not declared as non-smoking workplace by the employer, an outdoor smoking area has to be designated.

The Act on Owner-occupied Blocs has also been modified: it is prohibited to smoke in the commonly owned indoor areas of the building unless there is a direction to the contrary adopted by at least four-fifth majority of the owners shares.

The so called cigar room is a novelty to this act, which can be an already existing authorized designated smoking area at catering establishments and hotels after coming into force of the modification. However no food or beverages can be served in these rooms. Furthermore as long as guests are smoking in the cigar room employees cannot be obliged to work there. The air-change of the cigar rooms have to be solved by doors, windows or other technical devices making sure that smoke to cannot get into non-smoking areas.

The modification of the act comes into force on 1st January 2012, whereas the above regulations on existing cigar rooms 3 days after their announcement. In order to allow enough time for the implementation the new law there will be a three months grace period provided before imposing fines.

The observance of the act will be controlled by the state health administration organization  and the consumer protection authority.

After coming into force there will be a three months grace period until 1st April 2012, as of which date offenders will be fined. The state health administration organization (egészségügyi államigazgatási szerv) might forbear from fining in case the manager of the institution, its operator, the organizer of the event, the employer or the person assigned for this job by the regulations of the public institution has summoned the offender to stop smoking, or if she/he does not cooperate, to leave the building.

The health protection fine, which can amount to 20-50 thousand forints, and the on-the-spot fine that can mount up to 30 thousand forints have to be paid by money transfer to the bank account of the state health administration organization. Half of the amount collected this way will be transferred monthly to the budgetary chapter of the ministry responsible for health by the state health administration organization. It can be spent on smoking prevention, cessation supporting programs, health protection objectives, and programs improving the level of health care.

One fourth of the collected amount will be spent on the improvement of the supervisory authority and the promotion of the public health authority’s work. In case the offence affects a wide range of the population legal action can be taken against the offender by the state health administration organization, the public prosecutor’s office and the civil organization providing representation of interests in health protection. This fosters the observance of the law. A law suit can also be initiated if the persons affected cannot be identified.

Experts expect the act to bring about higher health-awareness of the Hungarian population, and on a longer run health promoting effects and a decrease in the diseases related to smoking. Miklós Szócska expressed his thanks to the prime minister, the leader of the parliamentary group, and regardless of a party affiliation to MPs and the professional organizations for the quick and correct enacting of the act.

Act XLII of 1999 on the Protection of Non-Smokers and Certain Regulations on the Consumption and Distribution of Tobacco Products

HUNGARY: WHO welcomes proposal for legislation for a smoke-free Hungary (28.02.2011.)

On Friday 25 February 2011, a group of MPs of the Hungarian Parliament, with government support submitted a motion for legislation that would make public places, restaurants, bars and workplaces in Hungary smoke-free.

Debate on this proposal starts in Parliament on 28 February 2011.

WHO Regional Office for Europe welcomes this initiative.
“This is very good news for the health of the people of Hungary. Countries across the European Region are introducing smoke-free public places and workplaces, and the evidence is that it really works”, said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Not only does it have a major impact on the amount of smoke that people are exposed to, and their health, but people have accepted it. It has met with public support and positive impacts on business.”

Smoke-free initiatives are strongly supported by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which 45 countries in the European Region have ratified so far. Governments are finding that the health gains hugely outweigh the perceived political costs of taking action, and one country after another is introducing tough legislation to combat smoking.

For more information, please contact: Dr Zsofia Pusztai
WHO Country Office, Hungary, 28 February 2011


The Latest Report of the U.S. Surgeon General (10.12.2010.)

How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Riport, 2010

“There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke” – stressed Regina M. Benjamin in the press conference of the report. Inhaling smoke, even in low concentration, quickly leads to malfunctions and inflammation of blood-vessels, which, among others, is behind heart attack and stroke.The report puts emphasis on pathways by which smoking leads to diseases.

Exposure to tobacco smoke – even occasional smoking or secondhand smoke – causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to several illnesses or death, said the U.S. Surgeon General. The new report stresses that poisonous chemicals in smoke reach every organ in your body. As they are absorbed in the lungs, they go quickly into your blood. Then the blood flows through your arteries and carries toxins to tissues in all parts of your body. Your lungs, blood vessels, and other delicate tissues become inflamed and damaged when you smoke. According to the report, cellular damage and tissue inflammation from tobacco smoke are immediate, and that repeated exposure impairs the immune system.

The report also explains why it is so difficult to quit smoking. According to the research, cigarettes are partly designed for addiction. The design and contents of current tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before. Today’s cigarettes deliver nicotine to smokers body more quickly and efficiently than cigarettes of many years ago.

“This report makes it clear – quitting at any time gives your body a chance to heal the damage caused by smoking,” the Surgeon General said. “It’s never too late to quit, but the sooner you do it, the better.”

Summary of findings from the report:

  • There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
  • Damage from tobacco smoke is immediate.
  • Smoking longer means more damage.
  • Cigarettes are designed for addiction.
  • Even low levels of exposure to tobacco smoke are dangerous.
  • There is no safe cigarette.

For more information please click here.