Linking to No Smoking Day (Wednesday 9 March 2011), the government have decided to place a ban on tobacco displays in the United Kingdom as part of a package of measures to attempt to lower the amount of smokers in the sovereign state.
Minsters have announced that cigarettes and other products will have to be kept out of sight and under the counter from April 6 2012 for large stores and April 6 2015 for smaller shops.
There will be one exception, according to a statement from the Department of Health. Only temporary displays will be allowed in “certain limited circumstances”. These rules are phased in to minimise the impact of businesses.
It has also been proposed to make all packaging for cigarettes to be plain, as not to be as visually appealing to younger smokers. Though, the government is keeping an open mind on this proposition, and is planning a consultation on different options before the end of this year.
Retailers have reacted angrily to the display ban, stating that there was “simply no evidence” that removing displays would reduce smoking among young people.
The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, published ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’, a tobacco control plan for England to coincide with national No Smoking Day, adding that smoking was one of the “biggest and most stubborn challenges” in public health.
He added, “My ambition is to reduce smoking rates faster over the next five years than has been achieved in the past five years”.
After decades of the figures falling rapidly, a fifth of adults in the United Kingdom smoke. This figure has remained steady in recent years.
Will this measure lower the amount of smokers in Britain? Will the plan discourage younger people from starting smoking? Would plain packages on cigarettes and other tobacco related products make you less likely to buy the product?