Facts About the Changes to Tobacco Items on Display in the UK

As the calendar moves closer to 2012 the days of cigarette and tobacco related displays in supermarkets in England are numbered. The British government has reminded supermarket retailers within England that all displays of these products are to be removed

As the calendar moves closer to 2012 the days of cigarette and tobacco related displays in supermarkets in England are numbered. The British government has reminded supermarket retailers within England that all displays of these products are to be removed within 100 days. Similar bans will come into place in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at a later date.

The British government’s Department of Health will implement the ban from April and state the measure is to help protect the health of the nation’s younger generations as these groups are often targeted through the promotion of tobacco products. The new law will not affect smaller shops as they can continue displaying the products until 2015.

The ban was announced in 2008 and from this coming April cigarettes can still be bought in the same way; they just have to be stored away from view and out of sight under the counter. Visible displays of tobacco products are already banned in Iceland, Thailand, Canada and Norway.

The ban will be introduced later in 2012 in Scotland, similar regulations are due to be implemented into Northern Ireland and in Wales although the commitment to ban the displaying of cigarettes and tobacco at the point of sale is on a similar level a legal challenge has delayed the date for when this can begin.

Consultations have began over the legality of forcing manufacturers to use plain packaging for the cigarettes they wish to sell in the future. One in five adults smoke in the UK, after many decades of falling numbers of smokers in the country it has remained at a steady 21% in recent years.

Bans were introduced firstly through advertising and in recent years on smoking in public places. The legal age for buying cigarettes has also risen from 16 to 18. An additional ban later in 2012 will be directed at the outlawing of tobacco vending machines.

The link between lung cancer and smoking were firmly established in the 1950’s, at that time around 80% of men in the UK smoked. By the mid 1970’s that figure had dropped to around 45% of adults being committed smokers. By the turn of the 21st century less than a quarter of the population of the UK regularly smoked and the figure has leveled off at around 21%.

The proposal to introduce plain packaging if it goes ahead will be the first one to be implemented in Europe. Australia is due to begin these measures during 2012 and the effects felt there may help to decide the action taken in the UK. Once these proposals are fully in place the next step to safeguarding the public health of British citizens may be geared towards alcohol and drug related products. One significant factor of cigarettes and alcohol revenue is the huge quantities of taxes raised by the government on the sale of these products, so maybe they will not want them to be too successful after all!

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