The government has taken a drastic stand against smoking by removing cigarettes from shop shelves
Cigarettes and tobacco will disappear from English shop shelves under a new health measure announced by the Department of Health yesterday.
The government plan, due to begin next year, may also include a ban on cigarette brands’ colourful packaging. In an effort to cut the number of young people who start smoking, the government will decide whether cigarettes should be in plain packaging to make them less appealing to young people.
‘Smoking is undeniably one of the biggest and most stubborn challenges in public health,’ says Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. ‘Over eight million people in England still smoke, and it causes more than 80,000 deaths each year.
‘We want to do everything we can to help people choose to stop smoking and encourage young people not to start smoking in the first place.’
However, retailers reacted angrily to the decision, stating that there is no evidence that keeping tobacco out of sight would discourage young people.
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents said it was a ‘betrayal of our nation of shopkeepers’.
England will join several countries, including Canada, Ireland and Finland, in removing cigarettes from tobacconists’ shelves.