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Chantler Review Paves Way for Standard Tobacco Packs
Australian standardised packaging

03 April 2014

Laws requiring standardised (“plain”) packaging of cigarettes in the UK could be in place by the next election, after the Chantler review reported today that there is a strong public health case for the policy. As usual, the tobacco industry will threaten legal action, but the debate on the principle is now over. The Smokefree Action Coalition understands why the Government is having to proceed with caution, because the tobacco industry is highly litigious, but is “delighted” that a consultation on standardised packaging regulations will be launched in the very near future. Standardised packaging will ensure that the tobacco industry can no longer advertise and market its products to young people through branding on cigarette packs. [1][2]

Standardised packaging is popular with the public. A new poll by YouGov, published today and conducted for ASH in March 2014, found that overall 64% of adults in Great Britain support or strongly support plain standardised packaging with only 11% opposed to the measure. [3]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“Sir Cyril Chantler has quite rightly concluded that there is a strong public health case for standardised packaging of cigarettes and tobacco packaging, and that the tobacco industry’s arguments against the policy are spurious. This policy is the vital next step in reducing smoking rates, and cutting the toll and death and disease that smoking causes. We’re delighted that the Government has committed to consult on standardised packaging regulations which must be introduced as soon as possible.”

Dr Janet Atherton, President of the Association of Directors of Public Health, said:

“Sir Cyril's review has recognised the strong public health case for standardised packaging. The Government must now bring in the regulations needed to introduce the policy without further delay. Stopping children from starting to smoke is a top public health priority, and standardised packs are needed to prevent the tobacco industry from using brightly coloured attractive packs to recruit new young addicts".

Baroness Tyler, President of the National Children’s Bureau, said:

“The Chantler review confirms the case for ridding tobacco packaging of the promotional features which make smoking so attractive to children. Hundreds of thousands of children start smoking every year, resulting in preventable conditions including respiratory infections, asthma, heart disease and cancer. Standardised tobacco packaging will highlight as never before the harm caused by smoking and we therefore urge the Government to implement this measure as soon as possible.”

On 28th November 2013, the Government announced that it had appointed the eminent paediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler to conduct an independent review into the public health impact of the standardised packaging of cigarettes and tobacco products. The announcement followed Parliamentary votes to include in the Children and Families Bill powers for the Health Secretary to introduce regulations on standardised packaging in England. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments have also supported the policy.

Australia was the first country to introduce standardised packaging, in December 2012. Soon after standardised packs began to appear in Australian shops, smokers reported that they found cigarettes from plain packs less appealing or satisfying. Research showed that, compared with smokers who were still using branded packs, the plain pack smokers were 81% more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day during the previous week and to rate quitting as a higher priority in their lives than smokers using brand packs. There was also a big increase in the number of people contacting smoking quitlines following the introduction of the new packs. [4]

The Chantler review has also concluded that standardised packaging need not increase the illicit trade in tobacco, rejecting claims from the tobacco industry. All the key security features on existing packs of cigarettes would also be present on standardised packs (including coded numbering and covert anti-counterfeit marks). Andrew Leggett, Deputy Director for Tobacco and Alcohol Strategy at HM Revenue and Customs has said that “We’re very doubtful that it would have a material effect [on counterfeiting and the illicit trade in tobacco]”. [5]

ENDS

Images of standardised packs are available for download here (zip file).

Independent Review into standardised packaging of tobacco, Sir Cyril Chantler, King's College, London

Notes and Links:

[1] The Smokefree Action Coalition is an alliance of over 250 organisations including the medical royal colleges, the BMA, children’s organisations like the National Children’s Bureau, the Association of Directors of Public Health, the Faculty of Public Health, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Trading Standards Institute and major health charities such as Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation: all support standardised packaging.

[2] Most smokers began their habit as children. Among existing adult smokers, two thirds report that they began to smoke before the age of 18, and almost two fifths before the age of 16. (Source: ONS General Lifestyle Survey, 2008 & 2011.) Starting to smoke is associated with a range of risk factors, including smoking by parents and siblings, smoking by friends, the ease of obtaining cigarettes, exposure to tobacco marketing, and depictions of smoking in films, TV and other media.

[3] The poll total sample size was 12,269 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov between 5th and 14th March 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Respondents were shown what a standard pack could look like, including larger health warnings as in Australia.

[4] Wakefield M et al (2013); Introduction effects of the Australia plain packaging policy on adult smokers: a cross-sectional study; BMJ Open 2013;3:e003175 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003175

[5] Andrew Leggett, Deputy Director for Tobacco and Alcohol Strategy at HM Revenue and Customs. Oral evidence to the House of Lords European Union Sub Committee (Home Affairs) on 24th July 2013.

 

SFAC welcomes Parliament's support for a package of measures to reduce smoking and protect children

10 February 2014

On 10th February 2014, the House of Commons debated the tobacco amendments to the Children and Families Bill which had been added at third reading in the House of Lords. These amendments:

• Enable the Government to introduce regulations requiring standardised packaging for tobacco products.
• Enable the Government to introduce regulations making it an offence to sell e-cigarettes to children under 18. 
• Make it an offence for an adult to buy cigarettes for anyone under 18 (proxy purchasing) 
• Enable the Government to introduce regulations making it an offence to smoke in a private vehicle carrying children.

The amendments on standardised packaging, proxy purchasing and age of sale were Government amendments and the vote which was whipped was 453 in favour and 24 against, a majority of 429. There was a free vote on the amendment to introduce a ban on smoking in cars when children are present and this was approved by 376 to 107, a majority of 269.

The Bill is now waiting for Royal Assent to become law. To bring the legislation into effect will require regulations to be developed and put before Parliament for a further vote. 

On standardised packaging, the Government will decide whether to proceed with regulations after the Chantler review has reported (link to announcement from November). For more information on standardised packaging, click here.

On smoking in cars, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said that David Cameron thinks that "the time has come" for a new offence of exposing children to smoke in vehicles. 

In November 2011, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health conducted an inquiry into smoking in private vehicles. The report can be downloaded as a pdf by clicking here. The British Lung Foundation has produced a briefing for MPs which available for download here (pdf).

 

Victory for children's health as Lords approve Bill amendment to enable plain standardised tobacco packaging
Australian standardised packaging

29 January 2014

Health campaigners have expressed delight at the news that the House of Lords has given overwhelming support to a Government amendment to the Children and Families Bill that will pave the way for standardised tobacco packaging in the UK. [1] This means that the UK is almost certain to be one of the first countries in the world to ban the glitzy promotional features on cigarette packs. Australia introduced standardised packaging in December 2012, and the Government of the Republic of Ireland has said that it will do so this year.

Standardised packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products is intended to make starting to smoke less attractive to children and young people. Among existing adult smokers, two thirds report that they began to smoke before the age of 18, and almost two fifths before the age of 16. [2] Standard packs will have no tobacco branding apart from the name of the product in a simple typeface, and will be covered in written and graphic health warnings and advice on quitting (see picture of Australian standard packs on the left: please note that standard packs are NOT plain white packs).

The UK Government announced in July 2013 that it would not proceed with legislation on standardised packaging. But after a cross Party and crossbench alliance in the Lords tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, the Government announced in November 2013 that it would bring in its own amendment to the Bill.

Members of the Smokefree Action Coalition - an alliance of more than 250 organisations committed to promoting public health - want the Government to bring forward Regulations to bring in standardised packaging as soon as possible. [3] The eminent pediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler has been asked by the Government to conduct a review of the public health evidence on the policy, to report by March 2014.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“This is a great win for tobacco control and public health. We congratulate parliamentarians from all Parties and the crossbenches in the House of Lords and all those supporters, who worked so hard to make standardised tobacco packaging a reality. Everyone who cares about protecting the health of children and about reducing the toll of death and disease caused by smoking should welcome the outcome of today’s vote. We are absolutely delighted.”

Baroness Hollins, Chair of the Board of Science at the British Medical Association said:

"The BMA has long campaigned for the Government to introduce standardised packaging as a way of helping smokers to quit and to help persuade non-smokers, especially children who are heavily influenced by tobacco marketing, never to start this addictive and lethal habit in the first place. As doctors we see first-hand every day the devastating effects of smoking - the unnecessary loss of life, illness and misery it causes. We call on the Government to bring in Regulations on standard packs as soon as possible.

Dr Hilary Cass, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said:

“Today’s result is a victory for child health – and for the overall health of the nation. Government has recognised its duty to protect children’s health and is sending a strong message to the tobacco industry; it is wrong to market cigarettes to impressionable young people.

“An estimated 200,000 young people start smoking every year, resulting in a range of preventable conditions including chest infections, asthma and even lung cancer. If today’s move goes some way to reducing those figures, the benefits will be felt by generations to come.”

ENDS
NOTES

[1] Children and Families Bill. House of Lords Report Stage Amendment 57B.

[2] Young People and Smoking ASH Fact Sheet, Jan. 2014

[3] The Smokefree Action Coalition is an alliance of over 250 organisations including the medical royal colleges, the BMA, children’s organisations like the National Children’s Bureau, the Faculty of Public Health, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Trading Standards Institute and major health charities such as Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation: all support standardised packaging.


SFAC briefing: Standardised Packaging of Cigarettes and Tobacco Products - Children and Families Bill

20 October 2013

The SFAC supports amendments to the Children and Families Bill which would give the Secretary of State the power to introduce regulations requiring the standardised packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products. These amendments are due to be debated at the end of Committee Stage of the Bill in the House of Lords which is expected to be Monday 18th November.

There is a cross-party, cross-bench amendment tabled by Lord Faulkner (Labour), Baroness Finlay (Crossbencher), Lord McColl (Conservative) and Baroness Tyler (Liberal Democrat) and a strengthening amendment tabled by Labour which means the Secretary of State “must” make regulations rather than “may”. The SFAC supports both sets of amendments which come after clause 88 of the Bill and can be viewed here.

A detailed briefing has been distributed to peers and is available to download as a pdf.

In addition, a second amendment on smoking in cars has been moved by Baroness Finlay (Crossbench) and Lord Faulkner (Labour). This amendment would see legislation prohibiting smoking in cars in the presence of any children who are under the age of 18.

The full marshalled list of amendments to the Children and Families Bill is available here.

 

Government surrenders to tobacco industry on standard packs: let Parliament decide!

12 July 2013

The Government’s announcement that it will not introduce standardised packaging [1] for cigarettes and other tobacco products at the current time but keep the policy under review is a “tame surrender” to the tobacco industry, according to the Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of more than 150 organisations committed to promoting public health. [2]

If Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is truly committed to public health then tackling smoking should be his top priority. The majority of the public support standardised packaging: a poll on the issue by YouGov, conducted for ASH in February 2013, found that overall 64% of adults in Great Britain were in favour of the proposal. [3]

The public health community is appalled that the government has bowed to the strong opposition to standard packs from the tobacco industry, which has run a well-funded and grossly misleading campaign in the UK and around the world. In the UK alone, just one of the big four tobacco multinationals, Japan Tobacco International, is spending £2 million in the campaign against standardised packs. [4] A series of advertisements from JTI opposing standardised packs breached the UK advertising code, according to the Advertising Standards Authority. [5]

There is no need for further delay. The evidence was clearly set out in the Department of Health’s own consultation document. A systematic review of peer reviewed studies found that plain standard packaging is less attractive especially to young people, improves the effectiveness of health warnings, reduces mistaken beliefs that some brands are ‘safer’ than others and is therefore likely to reduce smoking uptake amongst children and young people. [6]  The Smokefree Action Coalition warns that any further delay in introducing standardised packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products will lead to more young people and children starting to smoke. More than 200,000 people under the age of 16 start to smoke every year. [7]

Since the close of the public consultation Australia has implemented standard packs and Ireland has pledged to do so next year. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments have all stated their support for the policy.

Dr Hilary Cass, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said:

“We are extremely disappointed that the Government has backed down from taking this essential step to protect children’s health. Children and teenagers are most impressionable to branding and the attractive packaging used by the tobacco industry is no exception.  It’s therefore not surprising that two thirds of today's smoking population confirm they took-up the habit at a young age. Standardised packaging is urgently needed to cut smoking uptake and prevent smoking-related deaths.”

Dr Hilary Emery, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau said:

“The introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products would be an important step in cutting the number of children who start smoking every year. Children in poorer communities, and in vulnerable groups such as those in care, are particularly likely to become smokers. That government is stepping back from this change is a sad day for child protection and child health. We believe that Parliament should have the chance to vote on the issue as soon as possible”.

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said:

" The Government has stalled in the face of strong evidence and instead reacted to myths perpetuated by the tobacco industry, an industry well-known for suppressing the truth about its lethal products. The Government had a choice: protect children from an addiction that kills 100,000 people in the UK every year or protect tobacco industry profits. The Government has made the wrong choice, it is unacceptable to stand by and watch as these lives are lost. There is strong public support for standard packs; we urge the Government to let Parliament decide, without further delay.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“There is good evidence of overwhelming public support for standardised tobacco packaging. And yet the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary have tamely surrendered to the tobacco industry on the issue. This policy is not some barnacle on the ship of state; it is badly needed to protect public health, and children’s health in particular. We believe that there is a clear majority in both Houses of Parliament for the policy. If the Government has lost its nerve, let Parliament decide on a free vote.”

Notes

[1] Moodie, C, Stead, M, Bauld, L et al. Plain tobacco packaging: a systematic review, Public Health Research Consortium, University of Stirling, Institute of Education and UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, 2012.

The Department of Health consultation on standardised packaging started on 16th April 2012 and finished on 10th August 2012. Standardised packaging was defined for the purposes of the consultation as:

• All internal and external packaging to be in a prescribed colour/s.
• All text on the pack, including brand names, to be in a standard colour and typeface.
• No branding, advertising or promotion to be permitted on the outside or inside of packs, or attached to the package, or on individual tobacco products themselves. For this purpose ‘branding’ includes logos, colours or other features associated with a tobacco brand.
• Any foils within a pack to be of a standard format and colour with no text permitted.
• Packs to be of a standard shape and opening
• Packs would still carry health warnings, fiscal marks and other markings to help identify fraud.

[2] The Smokefree Action Coalition is an alliance of over 150 organisations including the medical royal colleges, the BMA, children’s organisations like the National Children’s Bureau, the Faculty of Public Health, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Trading Standards Institute and major health charities such as Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation: all support standardised packaging.

[3] Thefirst poll total sample size was 12171 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st and 19th February 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The second poll was conducted on the 10th and 11th March 2013 showing the views of the public by which party they supported. The poll used a representative sample of 1684 adults. Respondents were shown what a standard pack could look like, including larger health warnings as in Australia.

[4] Tobacco Journal International. JTI campaigns against UK plain packaging 9th July 2012.

[5] Cancer Research UK press release: Further adverts from Japan Tobacco International rules misleading, 17th April 2013

[6] Moodie, C, Stead, M, Bauld, L et al. Plain tobacco packaging: a systematic review (pdf). Public Health Research Consortium, University of Stirling, Institute of Education and UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, 2012.

[7] Cancer Research UK. Smoking and children. Accessed on 25 June 2013

 

Campaigners Welcome Care Minister’s Support

17 May 2013

The Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of over 100 health organisations leading the campaign for legislation on the standardised packaging of tobacco products[1], has warmly welcomed the public statement of support for the policy from Care Minister Norman Lamb MP (Liberal Democrat: North Norfolk), reported in the Guardian newspaper today. He joins Public Health Minister Anna Soubry MP (Conservative: Broxtowe), in backing the policy. [2]

Mr Lamb’s statement will add to the pressure on the Coalition Government to back legislation on the issue in this Parliament. Although a Bill on standardised packaging was not included in the last Queen’s Speech, both Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have stated that the policy is still being considered. The Smokefree Action Coalition wants Parliament to be allowed to decide on the issue in a free vote, as with legislation on smokefree public places in 2006. 

Smoking is an addiction that usually starts in childhood. Every year more than 200,000 children in the UK start smoking. Among adult smokers, about two thirds report that they took up smoking before the age of 18. Almost two fifths start smoking regularly before the age of 16. [3] Half of all lifetime smokers will die from smoke-related disease. Smoking remains the major cause of premature death and disease killing over 100,000 people in the UK each year, more than the next six causes of preventable death put together. [4]

Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute said:
"Trading Standards colleagues up and down the country work in partnership to tackle issues caused by underage smoking.  Clearly smoking is one of the most significant impacts on public health and as an Institute we welcome Norman Lamb's statement.  It must be in the public interest for an open debate to take place and for Parliament to have a free vote on such an important topic.  We should not allow vested interests to take precedence over Parliamentary authority"

Professor John Britton CBE of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group said:
“Legislation on standardised packaging is an essential step to protect the health of children from insidious tobacco industry promotion. Norman Lamb’s statement of support is very welcome and will increase the pressure on the Government to act. The public has a right to expect that it should be properly debated in Parliament.”

BMA Director of Professional Activities, Dr Vivienne Nathanson,said:
“It is very good to hear that Norman Lamb supports standardised packaging for cigarettes.”

“Packaging is a key marketing tool for the tobacco industry and can influence young people to start smoking.  This can lead to life-long addiction to a product that kills and destroys health. As doctors we see this first-hand and so we support moves designed to reduce the number of people taking up smoking.   Standardised packaging will help achieve this and should be taken forward with no further delay.”

Notes:

[1] Packaging of cigarettes is last remaining area of tobacco advertising in the UK, following a general ban on advertising in the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002, and a ban on retail displays of tobacco products (which came into force in April 2012 in for large stores and will come into force in all other stores from April 2015) under the Health Act 2009). Australia introduced standardised packaging from 1st December 2012.

[2] Interview on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Friday 19th April 2013

[3] ASH Factsheet Young People and Smoking, March 2013

[4] ASH Facts at a Glance: Smoking Statistics

 

Health Groups to Cameron and Hunt: Let Parliament Decide on Standardised Packaging

08 May 2013

Following Jeremy Hunt’s appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme saying that a decision had not been taken on standardised packaging, members of the Smokefree Action Coalition [1] have written to Prime Minister David Cameron and Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt today expressing deep disappointment that legislation to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products was not included in the Queen’s Speech. They believe that the failure to bring forward legislation fatally undermines the Government’s credibility on public health issues. [2]

Smoking remains the major cause of preventable death and disease, killing 100,000 people each year in the UK [3] with over 200,000 children taking up smoking each year [4]. It is an addiction primarily of children and young people with two thirds of smokers becoming addicted before the age of 18 [5].

The Public Health Minister, Anna Soubry MP, has publicly stated that she is ‘personally persuaded’ by the evidence of the need for standardised packaging. She went on to say that it was now time for the debate to be had with colleagues in Parliament. [6] The Smokefree Action Coalition agrees with the Public Health Minister.

Since the launch of the public consultation on standard tobacco packaging in April 2012, there has been a groundswell of support for the measure with nearly two-thirds of the public and a majority of MPs across all political parties in favour. [7]

In their joint letters to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health, members of the SFAC, including the Association of Directors of Public Health, the Faculty of Public Health, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the British Medical Association and the Trading Standards Institute, say that if the Government will not go ahead with the introduction of standardised packaging then Parliament should be allowed to decide on the issue in a free vote in this parliamentary session. In order to facilitate the debate the Coalition also wants the Government to publish the outcome of the consultation on this issue, a consultation which finished nearly 9 months ago, on 10th August 2012 [8].

The President of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Richard Thompson said:
“This is a major lost opportunity to help protect children from starting to smoke. Evidence shows that plain packaging is less attractive to young people. In the UK, two thirds of regular smokers started smoking before the age of 18; two fifths before the age of 16. Only around half will manage to stop smoking during their lifetime. We need to take every opportunity to reduce the amount of deaths and disease in later life by preventing children from starting to smoke now.”

Dr Janet Atherton, President of the Association of Directors of Public Health said:
“Smoking is an addiction of childhood, with two thirds of smokers starting before the age of 18. Tobacco packaging is clearly targeted at young people, and standardised packs would provide one less reason for them to start smoking. There has been an extensive public consultation on this issue – this should not be buried – the public has a right to expect that it should be properly debated in Parliament.”

Leon Livermore, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute said:
“The harm to public health from tobacco use is so great that every possible means of reducing this harm should be considered. Smoking remains one of the most significant challenges to public health. This laudable move towards plain packaging must not be derailed. The UK is the standard bearer for tobacco control in Europe and where we lead others will follow. This gives us added responsibility to proceed with plain packaging sooner rather than later.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:
“Every day nearly 570 young people start smoking, and many will go on to die early from smoking-related disease. Smoking is by far the biggest cause of preventable premature death, and the poorest communities suffer worst. It is clear that a majority of MPs and peers as well as the general public support standard packs. If the Government cannot find the courage to act, then Parliament must be given the chance to decide, as it did with smokefree legislation.”

Notes and links
[1] The Smokefree Action Coalition is an alliance of over 100 health organisations.

The following are signatories to the letter to the Prime Minister :
Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of Council, Royal College of General Practitioners,
Dr Janet Atherton, President, Association of Directors of Public Health
Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK Professor
Lindsey Davies, President, Faculty of Public Health
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing
Dr Mark Porter, Chair of Council, British Medical Association
Graham Jukes, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Penny Woods, Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation
Francine Bates, Chief Executive, The Lullaby Trust
Sir Richard Thompson, President, Royal College of Physicians
Dr Hilary Cass, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Leon Livermore, Chief Executive, trading Standards Institute
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, ASH

- letter to the Prime Minister, 08 May 2013
- letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, 08 May 2013
- letter to the Health Secretary, 08 May 2013

[2] Today Programme, BBC Radio 4,
08 May 2013.
Jeremy Hunt: We haven’t made a decision actually John and …
JH: Well (indistinct) lost it …
Jeremy Hunt: … when I have made a decision, when I have made a decision, as you know extremely well and you’ve been in this game for much longer than I have, just because something isn’t in the Queen’s Speech doesn’t mean the Government can’t bring it forward as law. But we haven’t made a decision and when we have …
JH: Why?
Jeremy Hunt: … made, well when, which, which of those two issues are you talking about?
JH: Either, both …
Jeremy Hunt: Okay …
JH: … because both of them you, you want to do don’t you, you want a minimum price, as the Health Secretary you want a minimum price for alcohol and you would like to see plain packets, certainly your Public Health Minister Anna Soubry does?
Jeremy Hunt: I heard the interview but let me just explain on, on minimum unit pricing there was a court case because they are trying to do this in Scotland and that was only resolved this week and so it wasn’t possible for us to actually consider what course of action to do until that was clear. On plain paper packaging if we do it we would be the first country in the Europe, the second country in the world, Australia only introduced it in January so it’s a much harder job to assess the evidence as to how effective it would be and that takes time and I want to make sure we do the job properly. So I’m going to take the time that I need to.
JH: But you can see it looks a wee bit as if you’re scared of it now and, and there could be if that is true, if my supposition is true, then it could be that you’re actually you’re rather scared of UKIP because they would be very cross about it wouldn’t they given, given what we know about Mr Farage and his liking for cigarettes and a pint?
Jeremy Hunt: Well you keep putting this word scared assuming that I’ve decided, we haven’t made our decision and when we have made our decision we shall see if ….

"Just because something is not in the Queen's Speech doesn't mean the government cannot bring it forward as law," Mr Hunt added. (source: BBC News)

[3] ASH factsheet. Smoking statistics: Illness and Death. April 2013. (pdf)

[4] Statistical analysis by Cancer Research UK based on 2011 data from Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people.

[5] Two thirds of smokers become addicted before the age of 18 and 39% under 16 see data from the General Lifestyle Survey

[6] Today Programme. BBC Radio 4, 19 April 2013
Anna Soubry: There is work to be done on smoking and that’s the next debate that we’ve got to have. We’ve had a consultation on what’s called plain, it’s not, it’s very colourful very intricate, but standardised packaging, and there’s a real debate now to be had on whether or not we should introduce it like they have in Australia.
John Humphrys: Are you in favour of that?
AS: I am
JH: So it’s going to happen
AS: Oh no, it doesn’t mean to say it’s going to happen because we haven’t had the debate. We need now to have that debate. I’ve seen the evidence. I’ve seen the consultation. I’ve been personally persuaded of it, but that doesn’t mean to say that all my colleagues in government on both sides of the house are persuaded, and that’s the debate that we now have to have

[7] A poll by YouGov for ASH found that overall 64% of adults in Great Britain were in favour of standard packaging. Total sample size was 12171 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st and 19th February 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). A separate YouGov poll conducted on the 10th and 11th March 2013 revealed the views of the public by which party they support. Support by voting intention was 62% of those intending to vote Conservative, 63% of Labour and 60% of Liberal Democrats. There was majority support across all ages, genders and social classes. This was a representative sample of 1684 adults. Respondents were shown what a standard pack could look like, including larger health warnings as in Australia and envisaged under the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive All members of the SFAC (over 100 organisations) support standardised tobacco packaging.

[8] DH consultation on standardised packaging started on 16th April 2012 and finished on 10th August 2012. Standardised packaging was defined for the purposes of the consultation as: · All internal and external packaging to be in a prescribed colour/s. · All text on the pack, including brand names, to be in a standard colour and typeface. · No branding, advertising or promotion to be permitted on the outside or inside of packs, or attached to the package, or on individual tobacco products themselves. For this purpose ‘branding’ includes logos, colours or other features associated with a tobacco brand. · Any foils within a pack to be of a standard format and colour with no text permitted. · Packs to be of a standard shape and opening · Packs would still carry health warnings, fiscal marks and other markings to help identify fraud.

 

Health groups press Prime Minister not to drop standard packs for cigarettes
Letter from the Smokefree Action Coalition to David Cameron

02 May 2013

After today’s report in The Sun [1] that the Government has abandoned plans to bring in standard packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products, members of the Smokefree Action Coalition [2] have written to the Prime Minister to express their concern. The health groups say that such a step would seriously undermine the Government’s credibility on public heath.

In their joint letter to the Prime Minister, members of the SFAC including the Faculty of Public Health, the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the British Medical Association, say that abandoning standardised packaging would be to miss a golden opportunity to take a further step to cut smoking rates and the toll of death and disease that smoking causes.

Since the launch of the public consultation on standard tobacco packaging in April 2012 there has been a groundswell of support for the measure with nearly two-thirds of the public and a majority of MPs across all political parties in favour. [3]

The health groups say that if the Government will not go ahead with the introduction of standardised packaging then Parliament should decide in a free vote as was the case with smoke-free legislation. The Labour Party has already committed to supporting the measure.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said: “Reports that the Prime Minister has rejected plans for standard packaging are very worrying. But this does not mean that the battle is over. With a majority of MPs and peers as well as the general public in favour of standard packs we believe that Parliament should be given the chance to decide.

Notes and links

[1] Plain fag packets plan up in smoke, The Sun, 2/5/13

[2] The Smokefree Action Coalition is an alliance of over 100 health organisations.

The following are signatories to the letter to the Prime Minister :
Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of Council, Royal College of General Practitioners,
Janet Atherton, President, Association of Directors of Public Health
Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK Professor
Lindsey Davies, President, Faculty of Public Health
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nurses
Dr Mark Porter, Chair of Council, British Medical Association
Graham Jukes, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Penny Woods, Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation
Francine Bates, Chief Executive, The Lullaby Trust
Sir Richard Thompson, President, Royal College of Physicians
Dr Hilary Cass, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, ASH

The letter is available to download as a pdf.

[3] A poll by YouGov for ASH found that overall 64% of adults in Great Britain were in favour of standard packaging.

Total sample size was 12171 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st and 19th February 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

A separate YouGov poll conducted on the 10th and 11th March 2013 revealed the views of the public by which party they support. Support by voting intention was 62% of those intending to vote Conservative, 63% of Labour and 60% of Liberal Democrats. There was majority support across all ages, genders and social classes. This was a representative sample of 1684 adults.

Respondents were shown what a standard pack could look like, including larger health warnings as in Australia and envisaged under the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive

All members of the SFAC (over 100 organisations) support standardised tobacco packaging.

Over 78,500 children have started smoking since UK Government’s consultation on standardised tobacco packaging ended
The clock ticks

Every day 430 children become smokers in the UK. That's

since the consultation on standard packs closed. Tell the Government to act.

Find out more

13 February 2013

This Valentine’s day the Smokefree Action Coalition [1] is calling on the Government to take action and “have a heart” by committing to legislation to make all tobacco packaging standard. Today is the tenth anniversary of the implementation of the ban on tobacco advertising and the seventh anniversary of the Commons vote for smokefree legislation. Valentine’s Day is therefore an ideal date for the Government to make its decision known.

The clock is ticking. Since the consultation on the legislation ended just over six months ago, it is estimated that 78,500 children will have started smoking in the UK, a number which grows by 430 every day. Now the Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of over 190 health organisations including the BMA, medical royal colleges, public health bodies, academic institutions and health charities, is calling on the Government to publish the results of its consultation and announce that it will go ahead with legislation.

Currently in the UK, there are no restrictions on the way tobacco multinationals are allowed to promote their brands through packaging. The packs are now the principal form of tobacco promotion and are designed to attract existing and potential consumers with colourful and eye-catching imagery.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“The evidence is clear that heavily branded, brightly coloured packs are attractive to children. It’s been six months since the consultation closed and the clock is ticking. Every day hundreds more children take up smoking - children who need protecting from tobacco industry marketing. The government must commit now to legislation to put all tobacco products in standard packs.”

Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

“As a young doctor I was depressed to see so many patients in their 50s and 60s suffering because they had started smoking as children. Back then there was very little we could do, but now we have the opportunity to help protect our children by implementing standardised packaging.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's Chief Executive, said:

“Around 430 children start smoking in the UK every day. With one in four cancer deaths caused by smoking, this is far too many children who are pulled into the lethal addiction. More than 80,000 Cancer Research UK supporters were among the 200,000 people calling on the Government to introduce plain, standardised cigarette packs Our supporters run marathons and climb mountains to bring forward the day when we beat cancer. When the Government has a practical way to help prevent cancer, we urge it to act.”

Louise Morris, 36, a mother and former smoker from Newcastle who was influenced by cigarette packaging as a child, also wants the Government to act. She said:

“I started smoking with a group of friends when I was 13 years old. We all thought it was really fashionable to smoke the brand of cigarettes that looked the most attractive and I remember smoking cigarettes in a shiny gold packet because it made us feel like we were smoking a glamorous brand of cigarettes that looked more expensive compared to everyone else’s cigarettes.”

There is no evidence that standardised packaging will bolster the illegal tobacco trade as some tobacco multinationals suggest.[2] Branded tobacco packaging is no obstacle to counterfeiters and standardised packs would carry the same covert markings currently used to distinguish legal from illicit tobacco products. Legislation which ensures tobacco packaging is free from attractive designs will, above all else, help to discourage children from starting to smoke. [3]

Smoking is a childhood addiction, not an adult choice. [4] More than 150,000 children start smoking each year in the UK. [5] Half of all lifelong smokers will die from their addiction, amounting to over 100,000 people last year in the UK. [6]

Putting tobacco products in standardised packs is a popular measure. Opinion research shows that 62% of the public support the plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products, with more smokers supporting than opposing the measure. [7] Over 200,000 people have expressed their support for the introduction of plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products in the UK. Internationally, standardised packaging is already in place in Australia which became the first country to implement such legislation in December 2012. It’s time for the UK to follow suit.

Notes and links

[1] The Smokefree Action Coalition is an alliance of over 190 health organisations including medical royal colleges, the BMA, the Trading Standards Institute, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Faculty of Public Health, the Association of Directors of Public Health and ASH. All support the introduction of standard packs.
[2] Smuggling the tobacco industry and plain packs. A report by Luk Joossens for Cancer Research UK.
[3] As a report by the Public Health Research Consortium showed, tobacco packaging is attractive and misleading, especially to children. See evidence summarised in the PHRC report http://phrc.lshtm.ac.uk/project_2011-2016_006.html
[4] Two thirds of smokers become addicted before the age of 18 and 39% under 16 see data from the General Lifestyle survey http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ghs/general-lifestyle-survey/2010/index.html
[5] Estimate based on figures taken by CRUK from Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England (2000 to 2010).
[6] Data from national sources from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
[7] A poll by YouGov for ASH found that overall 62% of adults in England supported this while just 11% opposed the measure. Even among smokers for every 5 who oppose there are 6 who support. Total sample size was 10,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th February to 16th March 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in England.

 

SFAC welcomes consultation on plain packaging

Consultation document on plain packaging

16 April 2012

The Smokefree Action Coalition - a group of 188 health and welfare organisations [3] - has welcomed the launch today of the Government's consultation on tobacco packaging. [1]

Putting tobacco products in plain packaging is essential because once tobacco is out of sight in shops tobacco packs will be the last remaining promotional tool for the tobacco industry. Also there is good evidence that plain, standardised packs are

• less attractive, particularly to young people;
• make the health warnings stand out more; and
• reduce the ability of the packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking.

There is already widespread public support for requiring tobacco to be sold in plain standardised packaging with the product name in standard lettering. A recent poll found that overall 62% of adults in England supported this while just 11% opposed the measure. [2]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: "If we are to succeed in making smoking history for our children then plain packaging is the obvious next step now advertising promotion and sponsorship are banned and tobacco displays in shops are on the way out. Cigarettes are not like sweets or toys and should not be sold in fancy colourful packaging to make them appealing to children. Cigarettes are full of toxins and cause fatal diseases: plain, standardised packaging will make this explicit."

Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians said: " From our first report on smoking and health fifty years ago the RCP has strongly supported the implementation of effective and comprehensive strategies to reduce the prevalence of smoking. Plain standardised packaging of tobacco products is the obvious next step - brightly coloured packaging is the major remaining means by which the industry can promote its product to children and young people; it needs to be stopped now."

Notes

[1] The Consultation document is available from the DH website here.
For further information on the case for tobacco plain packaging see: the Smokefree Action Coalition briefing on plain packaging

Respondents were shown the following image of a standardised pack

[2] YouGov Survey. Total sample size was 10,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th February to 16th March 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in England.

Question asked of respondents: The image above is an example of a 'plain standardised pack' based on Australian legislation passed last year (Source: ASH, 2012). Thinking about the packaging above, to what extent would you support or oppose the following? Requiring tobacco to be sold in plain standardised packaging with the product name in standard lettering. Respondents were shown the image on the right.

Australia will be the first country in the world to require plain, standardised packaging for all tobacco products from December 2012. See Australian Government Notice

[3] The Smokefree Action Coalition is a group of 188 organisations, united in working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco. . For the full list of members see the about section of this website.

 

No Smoking Day 2012

No Smoking Day 2011 - time to quit?

01 March 2012

No Smoking Day 2012 is taking place on 14 March. Visit the No Smoking Day website: www.nosmokingday.org.uk for details on how to get involved and information about events in your area.

Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 2775 in support of No Smoking Day. The full text of the motion is available here on the Parliament website. You can also check whether your MP has already signed.

 

 

 

 

 

Local Tobacco Control Profiles for England

Local tobacco profiles of England - map

03 February 2012

The Local Tobacco Control Profiles for England have been updated with 2011 figures. The tool, developed by the Association of Public Health Observatories, brings together a detailed picture of the burden of smoking-related disease for every local authority and primary care trust in England. The tool consists of a set of indicators detailing local smoking prevalence data, levels of smoking in pregnancy, deaths from specific tobacco-related diseases as well as hospital costs of treating tobacco related diseases and local smoking cessation data.

The data can be accessed on the London Health Observatory website, here.

 

New Tobacco Control Plan for England

Cover of the tobacco control plan09 February 2011

The Government has launched a new Tobacco Control Plan which sets out the next phase of tobacco policy in England.

The Plan includes clear goals to reduce adult smoking prevalence from 21% to 18.5% by 2015 and to reduce smoking rates among 15 year olds from 15% to 12% by 2015 and to reduce smoking in pregnancy from 14% to 11% by 2015.

The Plan also commits to ending the display of tobacco products in large shops in England by April 2012, and in small shops by April 2015.

Click here to find out more.

Tackling tobacco - a New Year's resolution for the government

Jean King

24 December 2010

Jean King, Cancer Research UK's Director of Tobacco Control, has responded to an article by the President of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents on the Lib Dem Voice website on the point of sale display of tobacco products.

Jean makes a strong case for the need for such displays to be banned and counters the arguments repeated by the tobacco industry and their supporters. She explains that whilst the introduction of plain packs would be an extremely important step, this would not eradicate the need for a display ban.

Jean's article can be seen on the LibDem Voice website here.

 

Have your say on the future of public health in England

Department of Health logo

24 December 2010

Following the publication of its White Paper on public health: Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England the government has launched consultations on:

• funding and commissioning for public health
• the public health outcomes framework

Both consultations run from 21 December 2010 to 31 March 2011.

The consultation on the proposed public health outcomes framework, Healthy Lives, Healthy People: transparency in outcomes, proposals for a public health outcomes framework (pdf), explores the proposed public health outcomes framework.

The consultation on the proposed funding and commissioning for public health, Healthy lives, healthy people: consultation on the funding and commissioning routes for public health, explores the proposed funding and commissioning routes for public health, including the ring-fenced budget provided to local authorities.

 

Public Health White Paper: No going back on Smokefree England

Healthy Lives, Healthy People

30 November 2010

The Government has published its White Paper on public health:
Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England.

The White Paper sets out the Government's proposals for setting up a Public Health Service including the outline of a tobacco control strategy. A full plan is promised within months. In the meantime the Government makes it clear that:

• it will not compromise smokefree legislation,
• it will implement the ban on vending machines as planned,
• it will make an announcement very soon on point of sale displays and
• it will consult on plain packaging.

In an earlier statement, Andrew Lansley had acknowledged that: "The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers... It's wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets."

Pointing out that the NHS spends over £2.7 billion a year on treating smoking related illness, but less than £150 million on smoking cessation, the White Paper confirms that reducing smoking rates remains a priority for public health, and provides more details of the transfer for public health, including smoking cessation, to Local Authorities.

On the heels of the commitment from the Government to implement the ban on vending machines in England as planned comes the news that Sinclair Collis, a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco and the major operator of tobacco vending machines in the UK, have had their challenge of the ban rejected in the High Court. They are planning to appeal.

 

UK Government to replace tobacco industry "con" with plain packaging

Plain packaging

22 November 2010

On Sunday November 21 Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced that he was "looking at the idea of making tobacco firms have completely plain packaging on their killer brands" so that only basic information and health and picture warnings would be visible.

In a strongly worded statement the Department of Health said "light colours on packets has been shown to con children and adults alike into falsely believing that one brand is somehow less harmful than another".

In a statement which appeared to endorse the principle of BOTH plain packaging and a tobacco product display ban Andrew Lansley said "the evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It's wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets."

ASH has been campaigning for plain packaging for several years but cautioned that the offer of plain packaging some time in the future is no substitute for implementing existing law to end tobacco displays due to come into force in less than a year.

Martin Dockrell, Director of Policy and Research at ASH said: "Putting tobacco in plain packs would be an historic step for public health and an amazing centrepiece for Lansley's promised Public Health Strategy. Industry marketing men have become increasingly pushy with pack design, making it a 21st Century billboard, identifying this brand as "cool", that brand as "feminine". That is why it is so important to end the lavish displays behind the sweets in shops but it cannot be a question of one or the other. If the effect of this move was to kick the display ban into the long grass, it would backfire horribly on the Government. It could be years before Lansley's proposed law comes into effect, while the display ban can and must come in next year as planned."

Click here for further information on plain packaging.

 

Local Tobacco Control Profiles for England

Local tobacco profiles of England - map

28 October 2010

A new tool developed by the Association of Public Health Observatories brings together, for the first time, a detailed picture of the burden of smoking-related disease for every local authority and primary care trust in England. The tool consists of a set of indicators detailing local smoking prevalence data, levels of smoking in pregnancy, deaths from specific tobacco-related diseases as well as hospital costs of treating tobacco related diseases and local smoking cessation data.

The data can be accessed on the London Health Observatory website, here.

 

An open letter to Vince Cable

Peter Kellner

21st October 2010

In an open letter published in the New Statesman, Peter Kellner, president of YouGov and Trustee of ASH, explains to Business Minister Vince Cable why it is time to stop listening to the tobacco industry when it comes to implementing the tobacco control elements of the Health Act 2010.

Read the full letter here.

 

MPs reject bid to reintroduce smoking in pubs

House of Commons

13th October 2010

The Commons has voted to reject a bid by MP David Nuttall to exempt pubs and private members' clubs from the smokingfree legislation.

Under his 10 minute rule bill, landlords and licensees would have been allowed to have dedicated smoking lounges for drinkers on their premises, complete with smoke filters.

The motion to introduce the Public Houses and Private Members' Clubs (Smoking) Bill was defeated by 141 votes to 86, a majority against of 55.

Read the full transcript of the debate, (in particular Kevin Barron's speech quoting opposition to the Bill by a pub landlord from David Nuttall's own blog) in Hansard here.

 

Finland to ban Point of Sale display by 2012 in plan to "end smoking"

point of sale displays04 October 2010

Tough new laws aimed at eventually eradicating the use of tobacco in Finland have come into effect as of 1 October, even as a report emerged from Russia that its government is also considering more stringent regulations. With the new laws, Finland has become the first country in the world to specifically introduce legislation that aims to end, and not just reduce, tobacco use.

The first phase will see people under the age of 18 being completely banned from possessing tobacco products, and it has become a criminal offence to buy or give minors tobacco, punishable by up to six months in prison. The rules also make it illegal to buy or sell tobacco products over the Internet, to use tobacco in places frequented by minors, or smoke in spectator stands for all outdoor events.

The next phase, due in 2012, will make it illegal to display tobacco products in stores, and in 2015 all cigarette vending machines will be banned.

 

Shop survey reveals tight control of tobacco product display by UK tobacco companies

point of sale displays07 June 2010

A survey of over 100 small shops in England shows that tobacco companies have almost total control over the way tobacco is displayed and marketed.

Key findings:

• 79% of retailers who had a tobacco industry funded gantry were forced to comply with certain conditions relating to the size and type of display, and positioning of key brands.

• Around a third of independent retailers reported receiving an incentive from the tobacco company reps for selling their products.

• Typical gifts include pens, free packs of cigarettes and competitions with prizes including a complete shop re-fit.

Link to ASH press release

Rooke, C. et al. Tobacco point of sale (PoS) displays in England: a snapshot survey of current practices. Tobacco Control 2010 (in press)

 

Benefits of increasing tobacco taxes

The Effects of Increasing Tobacco Taxation: A Cost Benefit and Public Finances Analysis cover06 March 2010

A new report commissioned by ASH has shown that raising tobacco prices through taxation by 5% above inflation would result in significant cost savings to the nation. Specifically, it would:

• lead to a reduction in the number of smokers by 190,000

• save the NHS over £20m a year by reducing the cost of treating smoking related diseases

• increase tax revenues by over £500 million a year – a total of £2.6bn in the first 5 years.

The full report: The Effects of Increasing Tobacco Taxation: A cost benefit and public finances analysis can be found here and the summary here (pdf files).

Link to ASH press release.

A short video by ITN summarising the issues:

 

Government launches new tobacco control strategy

A Smokefree Future01 February 2010

The Government's tobacco control strategy launched on 1 February 2010 heralds the start of the next phase in tobacco control in England. The new strategy includes ambitious, yet realisable, goals to dramatically reduce smoking rates among adults and children.

The primary goals are to:
• Reduce smoking among 11-15 year olds from 6% now to under 1% by 2020
• Reduce adult smoking from 21% now to under 10% by 2020.

The strategy can be found here on the Department of Health website.

See our press release here.
See the Department of Health's press release here.

 

Tribute to the late David Taylor MP

David Taylor MP29 December 2009

Responding to news of the unexpected death of Leicestershire MP and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, David Taylor, health campaigners were quick to pay tribute. Taylor had been a long time champion of measures to reduce the harm caused by smoking and had been a leader in the parliamentary campaign that made public places in England smokefree. More recently he helped secure the successful passage of the 2009 Health Bill which will put an end to cigarette vending machines and put tobacco products out of sight in shops. Taylor was also one of Westminster's leading advocates of plain packaging for tobacco products.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of the Health Charity ASH said: "David was a much loved and respected colleague and advocate for public health, fearless in his pursuit of the things he believed in. Our thoughts are with his family and I hope it can be some consolation for them to know that David was admired as a man of great honour and a wise and willing adviser to those who sought his help. It is all the more saddening to know that David was standing down at the next election, looking forward to a less hectic life."

 

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

House of Commons

12th October 2009

MPs made the most significant step forward in public health since smokefree legislation when they voted to ban sales of tobacco from vending machines and the display of tobacco in shops on Monday 12th October.

See ASH's press release here
See the British Heart Foundation's press release here
See Cancer Research UK's press release here

 

Lambert & Butler bosses lobby Health Bill Committee

Lambert & Butler18th June 2009

Health charities and the tobacco industry have submitted evidence to the committee considering the Health Bill, week beginning 22nd June. Although the rules require that they "should generally include only material specifically prepared for the Committee", industry submissions appear to be substantially recycled from previous briefings. Read what the industry has been telling MPs.

 

 

 

 

The MPs on the Committee are:
Gillian Merron Government Minister, Lincoln
Mike O'Brien Government Minister, North Warwickshire
Mary Creagh Labour, Wakefield
Angela C. Smith Labour, Sheffield, Hillsborough
Andy Slaughter Labour, Ealing and Acton
Dr Desmond Turner Labour, Brighton Kemptown
Patrick Hall Labour, Bedford
Dr Doug Naysmith Labour, Bristol NW
Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South
Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead
Robert Wilson Conservative Whip, Reading East
John Horam Conservative, Orpington
Stephen O'Brien Conservative, Eddisbury
Andrew Turner Conservative, IoW
Sandra Gidley Lib Dem, Romsey
Dr John Pugh Lib Dem, Southport

 

Cigarette vending machines are out of order

Betty McBride, Director of Policy and Communications, BHF14th May 2009

The British Heart Foundation, as part of the Smokefree Action Coalition, has been campaigning to ensure children cannot buy cigarettes from vending machines. We were pleased that, following our lobbying, earlier opposition to restrictions on access to cigarette vending machines in the current health bill have disappeared.

Despite the narrow defeat of an amendment to ban cigarette vending machines in the Lords last week, we were delighted that so many peers from across the political spectrum spoke out against them. Many have clearly been persuaded that action on cigarette vending machines is crucial to ensure they are put out of children's reach for good.

We believe that when the bill moves to the Commons in June, MPs must press the Government to commit to the strongest possible regulations on vending machines, to make it impossible for children to access cigarettes this way.

We welcome your support to ensure that when the Health Bill becomes an act of Parliament, cigarette vending machines will be put out of reach of children for good

 

Lords vote 2 to 1 to put tobacco out of sight of children

House of Commons

7th May 2009

Action on Smoking & Health today praised the House of Lords for putting children's health first following a vote to put tobacco out of sight in shops across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The move, which has been supported by over 100 health and welfare organisations, will close one of the remaining loopholes in the ban on tobacco advertising and will protect children from tobacco industry marketing. More

 

Observer ad urges support for legislation to ban tobacco displays and vending machine sales

Observer advert 26th April 2009

26th April 2009

One hundred national, regional and local organisations and medical and scientific experts have signed a full-page advertisement appearing in The Observer newspaper urging members of the House of Lords to vote to end tobacco displays in shops and ban sales of tobacco from vending machines.

The Report Stage of the Health Bill starts on 28th April and the organisations are urging the Lords to vote to put tobacco out of sight in order to protect children from the eye-catching tobacco displays that are often sited next to the sweet counters in corner shops.

For more information contact Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) on 020 7739 5902.

 

Canadians congratulate UK on Point of Sale Ban

point of sale displays

The Saskatchewan Coalition for Tobacco Reduction (SCTR) has congratulated the UK Government on its commitment to "measures that will protect children, youth and all citizens from the devastation caused by tobacco addiction".

Saskatchewa, Canada, was the second jurisdiction in the world (after Iceland) to implement a ban on tobacco point of sale displays. A spokesman said he had "not heard of any negative outcomes such as businesses closing or staff being let go".

Read the SCTR's letter on their point of sale ban success story

 

Top UK academics tell peers: tobacco displays lead children to smoke

Commons debate23rd March 2009

Directors of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies have written to 800 members of the House of Lords telling them that the evidence indicates that children are influenced by point of sale displays of tobacco, in terms of their susceptibility to smoking, experimentation and uptake. During the Lords "Committee Stage" debate of the Health Bill several peers said they doubted there was enough evidence to justify legislation but Professors McNeil and Britton are among the leading authorities who have written to put them straight. Click here to read their letter

The letter arrives just days after Channel 4's "Factcheck" rated as very strong, the evidence linking displays to youth smoking and legal display bans to reductions in youth smoking. (See story below)

The Smokefree Action Coalition are urging the public to write to MPs and peers to make the facts clear.

 

Top UK academics tell peers: tobacco displays lead children to smoke

Commons debate23rd March 2009

Directors of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies have written to 800 members of the House of Lords telling them that the evidence indicates that children are influenced by point of sale displays of tobacco, in terms of their susceptibility to smoking, experimentation and uptake. During the Lords "Committee Stage" debate of the Health Bill several peers said they doubted there was enough evidence to justify legislation but Professors McNeil and Britton are among the leading authorities who have written to put them straight. Click here to read their letter

The letter arrives just days after Channel 4's "Factcheck" rated as very strong, the evidence linking displays to youth smoking and legal display bans to reductions in youth smoking. (See story below)

The Smokefree Action Coalition are urging the public to write to MPs and peers to make the facts clear.

 

Channel 4 FactCheck: tobacco ban evidence?

Health Secretary, Alan JohnsonChannel 4's FactCheck has assessed the government's claim that banning cigarette displays in shops will stop young people smoking and rated it: 1

How ratings work
Every time a FactCheck article is published we'll give it a rating from zero to five. The lower end of the scale indicates that the claim in question largerly checks out, while the upper end of the scale suggests misrepresentation, exaggeration, a massaging of statistics and/or language.

The claim
"What other countries have found when they've banned point of sale [tobacco] displays is they reduced the number of young people taking up smoking, and that's the primary concern we have here."
Alan Johnson, health secretary, Today, Radio 4, 9 December 2008

The background
The government announced plans yesterday to ban the display of tobacco products in shops and supermarkets by 2013 - so no more colourful rows of cigarette packets lined up behind the newsagents' counter.

Since tobacco advertising was banned in 2002, these point-of-sale displays are the most prominent place in which cigarettes are visible to potential customers. More

 

Big tobacco hides behind shopfront: MSP condemns tobacco lobby tactics

Kenneth Gibson11th January 2009, SNP News

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson condemned the lobbying actions of tobacco manufacturers after it emerged a campaign by shopkeepers against proposals to stop the display of cigarettes in store is being bank rolled by the cigarette companies.

MSPs have been receiving letters from "Responsible Retailers" urging them to support the "Save our Shop" campaign claiming that removing cigarettes from display will lead to the closure of small independent shops. More

 

MPs fall foul of 'dirty' tricks by tobacco giants

Save our shop campaign14th December 2008, The Observer

Britain's tobacco giants have been accused of 'dirty' tactics after it emerged they created a supposedly 'independent' campaign group for small retailers to lobby against government restrictions on the promotion of cigarettes in shops.

The Save Our Shop campaign claimed proposals to remove large displays of cigarettes in stores would result in costly refits and see many small retailers go out of business... more

 

Government publishes its response to the future of tobacco control consultation

Government publishes its response9th December 2008

Read the Government's response to the consultation

Find out more about the Smokefree Action Coalition's priorities for a comprehensive strategy

We expect a new Bill to be introduced early in the New Year to end point of sale display and give powers to end the sale of cigarettes from vending machines. A comprehensive strategy is expected to follow later in the year.

 

EDM 189: Point of Sale display of tobacco products

EDM 1899th December 2008

EDM 189: Point of Sale display of tobacco products. Has your MP signed yet? If not ask them why

 

Secretary of State gives evidence on health inequalities

Secretary of State gives evidence on health inequalities19th November 2008

Today Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson gave evidence to the Health Select Committee on health inequalities. He frequently mentioned smoking and tobacco to illustrate his points and correctly identified smoking as the major cause of health inequalities. A number of specific areas in relation to tobacco control were picked up on... more

 

SAC states case for a comprehensive tobacco control strategy

the need for a comprehensive tobacco control strategy

12th October 2008

The need for a comprehensive tobacco control strategy - SAC document

 

Coalition members publish responses to the consultation

Beyond Smoking Kills - ASH response

10th September 2008

Read the Smokefree Action Coalition members' responses to the government consultation

 

What happens now the consultation is closed?

Houses of Parliament8th September 2008

The Department of Health’s Consultation on the future of tobacco control closed on Monday September 8th. What happens now? More

 

Government consultation on the future of tobacco control

Smokefree Action logo

31st May 2008

The Smokefree Action Coalition welcomes the Government’s consultation on the future of tobacco control and the commitment to a new national tobacco control strategy. More

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