Commenting on the publication of the tobacco control plan for England, Professor John Britton, chair of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group said:
We welcome the government’s commitment to ban the display of tobacco products, but question why implementation of the legislation has been delayed to 2012 for large shops and 2015 for smaller retailers.
The government’s ambition to reduce smoking amongst adults from 21.2% to 18.5% in the next 4 years is commendable. However, to achieve this target a number of urgent measures are required and this includes introducing the tobacco display legislation as soon as possible, not delaying the full ban until 2015. The government has accepted that legislation is needed, so we fail to see why its implementation has been pushed back.
Smoking kills more than 80,000 people each year in England[i], which is more than alcohol, obesity, road accidents and illegal drugs put together[ii]. We cannot underestimate the harm caused by smoking and urge the government to reconsider delaying the display ban.
[ii] Beyond Smoking Kills: Protecting children, reducing inequalities. London, ASH, 2008.