On 6 April 2012, all large shops in England will have to hide tobacco products from view in a drive to cut the number of smokers and protect young people who are often the target of tobacco promotion. Ending open cigarette displays will help people trying to quit smoking and help to change attitudes and social norms around smoking.
Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative and Waitrose have already been trialling hiding tobacco displays. Other shops have just one month to find out if they are classified as a large shop, to plan how they are going to cover up their tobacco displays and to train their counter staff on the new law.
Cigarettes and all tobacco products will have to be hidden from view except when staff are serving customers or carrying out other day-to-day tasks such as restocking.
Director of Public Health, Jenifer Smith said: “With just over two weeks to go until large shops need to cover up their tobacco displays, we will soon start protecting children and young people from the unsolicited promotion of tobacco products in shops, helping them to resist the temptation to start smoking. This will also help and support adults who are trying to quit.”
“I would like to add that controlling access and exposure to tobacco, particularly by young people, is an essential part of our strategy to reduce smoking. However good our smoking cessation advisers are, they are less successful in supporting people to quit long term in the absence of a tobacco control programme. Around 80 per cent of smokers start before they turn 19, so it’s vital that cigarettes are not seen as normal, harmless products instead of the deadly and addictive drugs they really are. Preventing young people from starting to smoke is vital and putting tobacco out of sight is a step towards putting them out of mind for the next generation.”
Retailers wanting to find out more about the end of tobacco displays can contact their local authority trading standards for more information.