NHS Bill puts tobacco out of sight



Friday 16 January 2009

ASH welcomes the announcement today of a new Bill that will put tobacco out of sight and out of reach of young people. The measure follows the public consultation conducted last summer by the Department of Health on the future of tobacco control which will lead to the publication of a new national strategy later this year. The NHS Bill will require retailers to remove tobacco from public view [1] and opens the way for a ban on the sale of tobacco from vending machines. ASH is pleased to note that the Bill includes reserve powers to prohibit the sale of tobacco from vending machines and urges the Government to go further now, on the basis of the evidence, to commit to a ban by regulation. [2]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:

“The Government is going from strength to strength on tobacco control. However, if it wants to be a world leader rather than merely a follower it needs to be more ambitious. The tobacco display ban will help to reduce youth smoking but the ultimate challenge is to get rid of tobacco advertising completely by requiring tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging and prohibiting the sale of tobacco from vending machines as recommended in the recently agreed WHO guidelines. [3] That would send the strongest possible signal to the tobacco industry that the Government is serious about ridding the country of the biggest cause of ill-health and premature death.”

ENDS

Notes and links:
[1] ASH briefing on tobacco displays at the point of sale http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_701.pdf
[2] ASH briefing on vending machines http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_700.pdf
[3] ASH briefing on plain packaging http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_699.pdf
Note: The Department of Health’s definition of plain packaging is: “The removal of all promotional aspects from tobacco packaging and a requirement for the pack to be plain coloured and to display only the information required by law and health warnings.”

Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available