UK Planned Curbs On Smoking to be Axed..

December 3, 2008 - Brits (United Kingdom, Britain) new national tobacco control strategy placed on hold.

Isabel Oakeshott, Deputy Political Editor, Times Online reports measures to help cut smoking and drinking are expected to be shelved this week because of fears they will alienate voters during the recession. Ministers have decided they cannot justify some of the more draconian measures to reduce cigarette and alcohol sales during the economic downturn. A proposed ban on shops displaying tobacco, and steps to force tobacco manufacturers to remove logos from cigarette packs are expected to be abandoned, along with proposals to stop supermarkets discounting alcohol. The U-turn follows pressure from backbenchers (rear benches in the House of Commons where junior members of Parliament sit behind government officeholders and their counterparts in the opposition party) and trade groups, who argued that there was little evidence to show the steps would have health benefits.

Last night, Tuesday, 12/2/2008, the health department was examining whether any part of the proposed tobacco restrictions could be salvaged in time for Wednesday’s Queen’s speech, which sets out the legislative program. It is understood, however, that ministers have reluctantly conceded there is not enough evidence to support the tobacco proposals and have concluded it would “not be in the nation’s best interests” to press ahead. Some in the cabinet feared the crackdown, which included packaging cigarettes in plain “vanilla” boxes with no branding, would jar with the key message about shoring up the economy. Senior Labor sources say the legislative program is designed to appeal to “white van man”; that is, working-class swing voters who are more likely to smoke and drink. The government is still expected to press ahead with plans to ban so-called “happy hours” in pubs and clubs. http://www.timeson s/uk/health/articl e5258474.ece

Will the Brits even abandon the debate on banning smoking in cars when kids are present??

Related news briefs: British Considering Ban on Cigarette Displays..; Gruesome Photos on British Cigarette Packs..; Royal College of Physicians still pushing the use of SNUS.. and British considering banning logos on cigarette packs, other measures...

Reference: UK backing away from retail display ban, Tobacco Reporter, 12/2/2008.