Tobacco displays will be banned in England from 2012 in large stores and 2015 in smaller shops in a bid to drive down smoking.
The Government has delayed the implementation of the ban, which was due to commence in October 2011 in large stores and October 2013 in smaller stores.
However, its tobacco control strategy, published today, includes the launch of a consultation on whether plain packing of tobacco products will be introduced to help reduce the numbers of young smokers.
Its Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England sets out national ambitions:
- to reduce adult (aged 18 or over) smoking in England to 18.5% or less by the end of 2015 (from 21.2%), meaning around 210,000 fewer smokers a year
- to reduce rates of regular smoking among 15-year olds in England to 12% or less (from 15%) by the end of 2015
- to reduce rates of smoking throughout pregnancy to 11% or less (from 14%) by the end of 2015 (measured at time of giving birth)
Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA), welcomed the delay in the display ban implementation but said: “There is no credible evidence to support the stated public health objective restricting tobacco displays will reduce youth smoking levels.
The amended regulations mean:
- The display of tobacco products in shops will end. Tobacco products will need to be out of sight in shops, except for temporary displays in certain limited circumstances;
- Shopkeepers will have greater flexibility so that they can more easily carry out the day to day running of their businesses without breaching the law – for example, being able to undertake stock-taking or maintenance work while there are customers in the shop;
- The size of the display allowed while serving customers or carrying out the other authorised activities will increase from 0.75 to 1.5sq m; and
- Retailers will have additional time to prepare – particularly small shops. The regulations will commence on 6 April 2012 for large stores and 6 April 2015 for all other shops