MPs vote to put tobacco out of sight and out of reach

Tuesday 13 October 2009

“The most significant step forward in public health since smokefree legislation”

Today ASH praised politicians for voting in favour of ending the display of tobacco and banning the sale of tobacco from vending machines, legislation that will put tobacco out of sight and out of reach.

Chief Executive of ASH Deborah Arnott said:

“This is the most significant step forward in public health since smokefree legislation. Putting tobacco out of sight will protect our children from the insidious marketing of the tobacco industry, whose brightly lit displays currently hold pride of place in every corner shop, garage and supermarket in the land.

Stopping tobacco sales from vending machines has made a strong Bill even stronger. We wouldn’t tolerate other age restricted products such as alcohol or knives being sold in this way. This prohibition means that a lethal and addictive product will no longer be easily accessible to children.” [1]

In 2003 many other forms of advertising were banned because of their influence on children. Since then the industry has placed ever more emphasis on point of sale displays, which are now bigger, brighter and more eye catching than ever before. They are filled with ever increasing numbers of variants on major brands giving maximum exposure to household names such as ‘Silk Cut’ and ‘Marlboro’.

Ms Arnott added:

“The tobacco industry has done everything it can to frighten small shops into thinking this will be the end for their business. This is simply not true. There will be a consultation on the regulations which will give ample time for retailers and the public health community to respond with any concerns they may have about the detail.” [2]
Notes to Editor

[1] The complete ban on sales of tobacco from vending machines is a new clause which will now have to go back to the House of Lords to be voted on. The Point of Sale clauses have now been passed by both Houses.

[2] The Government has issued a consultation on the regulations today which provides details of how the new law will work in England. In Wales and Northern Ireland Ministers will have the powers to develop their own regulations and in Scotland similar legislation is currently being debated to end displays. In England larger shops will have to comply by 2011 while smaller shops will have until 2013. The full consultation is available on the DH website.
Contact: Deborah Arnott 07976 935 987(m) or Martin Dockrell 07949 089636 (m) ISDN available