UK - Tobacco Plan A Victory For Public Health..

March 10, 2011 - The Coalition Government has announced details of its new Tobacco Control Plan and the British Heart Foundation is pleased to see the plan includes a range of measures which will help protect people from the dangers of smoking.

Britain's Department of Health announced a ban on displaying cigarettes in stores around the country on Thursday, the nation's annual "no smoking day." The action relegates cigarettes to a product kept below the counter. (United Kingdom - Health Secretary to announce businesses to stop displaying tobacco tomorrow..)

We're pleased to see the Government will defend the ban on cigarette vending machines due in October because we've been fighting hard to make sure this ban goes ahead. (United Kingdom - High Court upheld govt's plan to ban cigarette vending machines starting October 1, 2011..

Betty McBride, Director of Policy and Communications at the British Heart Foundation, said:

"The Coalition Government has been under enormous pressure from a tobacco industry hell-bent on derailing important legislation banning tobacco displays in shops. Today is a victory for health campaigners and show of strength from Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

"Though we're slightly disappointed the display ban is being delayed, it will help prevent the industry from marketing their products to children and will go a long way to helping young people avoid a lifetime of addiction and health problems. The introduction of plain packaging would complement the ban and signal the end of slick, colourful designs used as 'silent salesmen'.

"Before today's announcement, tobacco bosses have been keeping busy scaremongering retailers with claims that the display ban will see them facing an insurmountable financial burden. The evidence from the ban in Ireland disproves those claims and the changes the Government has made to the legislation, including giving shopkeepers more time to comply, should provide further reassurance."

"Nearly all adult smokers started smoking before they turned 18 and every year, over 300,000 children under 16 try smoking," said Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies.

"Smoking is undeniably one of the biggest and most stubborn challenges in public health. Over eight million people in England still smoke and it causes more than 80,000 deaths each year," said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in his statement on the new law.

The government aims to reduce the adult smoking population from 21.2% to 18.5% or less and 15% to 12% or less among 15-year-olds by the end of 2015.

References: Comprehensive Tobacco Plan A Victory For Public Health, Says Heart Charity, UK, Source:
British Heart Foundation, Medical News Today, 3/10/2011; Global Health Watch: UK bans displaying cigarettes, tobacco products by Janet Stobart, Los Angeles Times, 3/9/2011; Healthy lives, healthy people: a tobacco control plan for England, HM Government, published 3/9/2011.