Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The denormalisation of tobacco continues

BBC News reports:

The government is reminding supermarket retailers in England to remove tobacco displays within the next 100 days.

The Department of Health said the ban, which will come into force on 6 April, would protect young people who were often the target of tobacco promotion.

Smaller shops do not have to change their displays until 2015.

They've been talking about this sort of thing for a long time, but it had somehow escaped my notice that it was actually going ahead. It seems this was a New Labour nanny state initiative that the Coalition predictably failed to kill:

From 6 April 2012, customers in England will still be able to buy cigarettes in the normal way, but the ban - which was announced in 2008 - will mean cigarettes will have to be kept under the counter.

The chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said: ''Ending tobacco displays in shops will protect young people from unsolicited promotions, helping them to resist the temptation to start smoking.

"It will also help and support adults who are trying to quit.''

I'd wager that very few 'young people' start smoking spontaneously in response to 'unsolicited promotions' in supermarkets or corner shops. Almost all of them will be offered a cigarette by a friend, and they will initially smoke whichever brands their friends smoke.

As for adults, it's not the government's business to tell them how to live.

In immediate practical terms, there aren't any benefits to this move, only inconvenience and expense for shopkeepers and customers. The real goal is to further denormalise smoking.

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