Tobacco display ban 'to curb young smokers'

 
Cigarettes on display The display ban is only coming into force in large shops and supermarkets this year

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A ban on tobacco displays is coming into force in England - with ministers promising it will help curb the number of young people taking up smoking.

Cigarettes and other products will have to be kept below the counter in large shops and supermarkets, while small outlets are exempt until 2015.

Other parts of the UK are planning similar action to drive down smoking rates.

Critics say the ban is discriminatory and will not discourage young smokers.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the BBC he hoped the ban would prevent people from taking up smoking and also help those trying to give up.

Start Quote

I hope we can make a big difference”

End Quote Andrew Lansley Health Secretary

He said: "Firstly, it reduces the visibility of tobacco and smoking to young people. And, of course two-thirds of smokers started smoking before they were eighteen.

"So, if we can, literally, arrive at a place where young people just don't think about smoking and they don't see tobacco and they don't see cigarettes - then I hope we can make a big difference."

He said the government recognised the pressures on retailers to comply with the ban but added: "We want to arrive at a place where we no longer see smoking as a normal part of life. We're doing it by stages with constant active pressure."

'Colourful displays'

A fifth of adults smoke - a figure which has remained steady in recent years after decades of rapid falls.

A plan to force manufacturers to put cigarettes into plain packets is also expected to be put out to consultation later this year.

The display ban will apply to shops of more than 280 sq m (3,014 sq ft).

Start Quote

It's essential that we create a culture that promotes and protects public health and tobacco legislation is a significant factor in making this happen”

End Quote Jo Butcher National Children's Bureau

Public health minister Anne Milton cited evidence from Ireland which suggested the measure could play an important role in discouraging young people in particular from smoking.

"We cannot ignore the fact that young people are recruited into smoking by colourful, eye-catching, cigarette displays.

"Most adult smokers started smoking as teenagers and we need to stop this trend."

Jo Butcher, of the National Children's Bureau, agreed: "It's essential that we create a culture that promotes and protects public health and tobacco legislation is a significant factor in making this happen."

Jean King, of charity Cancer Research UK, said the ban would help stop children who are attracted to brightly coloured tobacco packaging from taking up smoking but further action was still needed.

"Of course we want to see the pack branding taken away as well. This is not a normal consumer product, it kills people. We want to protect the next generation of children," she said.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley: "We want to arrive at a place where we no longer see smoking as a normal part of life"

However, the move has upset the tobacco industry.

Moves by Scotland to introduce such a ban have been delayed by legal action taken by Imperial Tobacco.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for British American Tobacco said: "We do not believe that hiding products under the counter or behind curtains or screens will discourage people, including the young, from taking up smoking.

"There's no sound evidence to prove display bans are justified."

He added if anything it could encourage the illicit trade of tobacco products.

'Social lepers'

Andrew Opie, from the British Retail Consortium, said it was wrong to believe the legislation would have a major effect on young people and it was supermarkets and other shops which were bearing the brunt of the costs needed to comply with the ban.

He said the organisation had calculated that it cost more than £15m to ensure everything was sorted out before the ban came into place.

He said: "Children are more likely to smoke when they're in a household where parents smoke and also they tend to get their cigarettes from either parents, or older peers, not directly from supermarkets.

Start Quote

The idea of the anti-smoker groups is to denormalise us and to turn us into social lepers”

End Quote David Atherton Freedom to Choose

"It's certainly caused a lot of disruption to retailers as they didn't actually get that much notice to comply - and if you think that this is 6,000 shops in England, there are only so many shop-fitters that can do the work."

David Atherton from the pro-smoking Freedom to Choose pressure group told BBC Radio 5 live he believed the state should not interfere with people's personal habits and added: "The idea of the anti-smoker groups is to denormalise us and to turn us into social lepers."

The display ban was announced by the government last year as part of its tobacco control strategy.

Although the legislation allowing it to happen was actually put in place by the Labour government before it lost power in 2010.

A number of countries, including Canada, Ireland, Iceland and Finland, have already introduced similar bans.

Prof David Hammond from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, said the ban led to a decline in smoking - especially among the young - in Canada.

"The declines were greatest in the provinces where the ban had been implemented the longest. And that's consistent with the idea that when you remove something like marketing, it takes some time for the residual marketing to wear out."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 220.

    I don't understand, to stop introducing young people to smoking, they're going to hide the cigarette displays in shops where those young people aren't allowed to buy them anyway...

    ILLEGALISE the useless product! oh wait! if you do that Cameron, then there is no chance you will be re-elected by the addicts, seems to me that is the only reason no one completely bans it!!

  • rate this
    -16

    Comment number 219.

    Great news, hope the government will eventually ban smoking in the UK. I have no sympathy for smokers, they smell and they skip the queues at hospital with self inflicted illnesses whereas non-smokers with real cancer have to wait to before they treat smokers first.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 218.

    Fine hide the cigarettes and put them in plain packages - it just means longer queues while people try to work out whats in stock. At the same time, better give the same treatment to chocolate bars, alcohol, junk food etc - all are proposed to be bad for us too. In fact better wrap us in cotton wool, ban all "dangerous" sports (knee injury from steps!) etc!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 217.

    Heavy smokers and drinkers pay a lot of extra tax for their habits. Then, they, on average, die younger. This is a *saving* for the government on pension payments.

    Having higher healthcare costs during their later lives would seem to make things about break-even?

    So let people choose for themselves.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 216.

    It's ridiculous that cigarettes are being demonised in this way. Alcohol makes people violent and should be subject to more restrictions and yet the tv is still full of glamorous alcohol advertising (such as the stella artois ads). Stop picking on cigs and start doing the same with booze!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 215.

    “Obesity 'could bankrupt the NHS” BBC Friday, 15 December 2006.

    So I’m wondering when they will be covering up all the calorific junk food or start taxing it the way smokers and drinkers are.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 214.

    Good and not before time. I'm still amazed though at the number of young people especially young girls who have started smoking.
    Every long march is just a succession of small steps.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 213.

    @197 Why do you think we have an NHS - It's because of all the taxes us smokers pay! Do we say that people who ride motorbikes (dangerous but also legal) should pay their own health bills?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 212.

    As if covering them up is going to make any difference - if people want to smoke, they will, regardless of some pseudo attempt to make cigarettes less attractive. What a totally IDIOTIC concept.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 211.

    Also if smoking is ever 'banned', what is next on the agenda for the treasury? You pensions will be looking even worse than they are now I can assure you on that.

  • rate this
    -13

    Comment number 210.

    I've never smoked and I think the sooner people stop the better, but this tactic won't help. As usual, government shows itself clueless about addiction - because that's what it is. Smokers can no more 'choose' to smoke than a heroin addict can 'take it or leave it'. The only choice they had was the first cigarette. To end an addiction, first understand what started it.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 209.

    202. acewindsor
    JUST NOW
    Isn't it disgusting that major supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury etc. are making so much money by pedalling death in the form of cigarettes?
    --
    Coffee, wine, spirits, beer, meat, butter, junk food, confectionery, video games, electrical goods?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 208.

    This Govt is completely off of its "supermarket trolley". For a start the screens are going to be constantly opening and shutting anyway and "get this" - the screens have a picture of a Cigarette on the outside and in big letters the word "Tobacco" as well. In fact rather than discourage anyone, they are going highten curiousity, so smoking actually becomes even more attractive and rebellious.

  • rate this
    +92

    Comment number 207.

    I hate to think of the Tax rises when cigarette sales drop, most of the price is Tax!
    As for trying to reduce under-age smoking - shops selling to under-age people should not just be fined, simply take away the licence to sell cigarettes if caught selling to under-age customers (should do same with alcohol). this will make them think twice before selling to under-age customers.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 206.

    One thing that struck me as well as others if you are going to ban the display of something then BAN it end of no get out for the smaller TAX fiddlers (words chosen for a reason) like the critter i live on top of got no money Oh aye can afford a brand new rangerover overfinch junk box thou (tax fiddles again)

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 205.

    187.
    StVitus

    You mention freedom of choice in your post.Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing.

  • rate this
    +33

    Comment number 204.

    I'm not sure the Government really want to curb smoking. The tax and pension implications are too big to ignore.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 203.

    What our middle class middle aged out of touch legislators fail to realise that is the more you demonise something the more attractive it becomes to the young. There is no greater aphrodisiac than parents disapproving of youir girl/boy friend.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 202.

    Isn't it disgusting that major supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury etc. are making so much money by pedalling death in the form of cigarettes?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 201.

    Re #159 "Over the last 20 years the shift from buying UK-sourced tobacco products to non-UK sources has gone from almost 100% to just under 50%" durrr .... I meant that the UK is losing sales of around 50% to non-UK sources yet the annual tax income has doubled.

    Maybe it's all that fagging at Eton that clouds the mind. Dressing it up as something else when it's nothing other than bullying.

 

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