From 2012 smokers won’t be able to see cigarettes in shops, with new laws ordering that tobacco be kept under shop counters. Do you think it’s right to put cigarettes out of sight?
And, perhaps more importantly, will this put smoking out of mind?
On No Smoking Day the Department of Health confirmed that cigarettes and other tobacco products would soon be forced under shop counters in England, with Scotland, Wales and Ireland to follow.
The ban, however, has been delayed until April 2012 for large shops and supermarkets, with smaller newsagents and tobacconists following in April 2015.
Out of sight, out of mind?
Exiling ciggies under shop counters follows a raft of recent anti-smoking laws in England. Cigarette advertising was banned in 2002, smoking was outlawed from public places in 2007 and cigarette vending machines will also be prohibited later this year.
The government added that it still had an open mind as to whether to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes. However, some experts are concerned that such packets could make it easier for tobacco fraudsters to pass off their cigs as legitimate.
As far as putting tobacco out of sight, health experts have said banning cigarette displays in shops will help reduce the number of under-16s who start smoking every year – this number currently stands at 300,000.
Professor John Britton, chair of the Royal College of Physicians’ Tobacco Advisory Group, even urged the government to bring the measures forward:
‘We cannot underestimate the harm caused by smoking and urge the government to reconsider delaying the display ban.’
A ban on smokers?
But not everyone supports putting tobacco under the counter. Some groups claim that it will impose too much cost on shopkeepers. UKIP leader Nigel Farage even argues that ‘it could end up doing to corner shops what the smoking ban did to country pubs – put them to the wall.’
Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded by maintaining that the ban wouldn’t have any affect at all:
‘It is yet another heavy-handed and costly intervention by government that will hurt businesses and, as many studies have shown, will do nothing to lower smoking prevalence.’
Do you support the government’s decision to banish cigarettes and other tobacco products under shop counters? And what do you think about introducing plain cigarette packaging?
Should cigarettes be forced under shop counters?
Yes (60%, 122 Votes)
No (40%, 81 Votes)
Total Voters: 203