Public Health Wales Backs Cigarette Display Ban
From this week, small retailers in Wales must ensure that cigarettes and tobacco products are out of public view unless requested by a customer. Shop managers and assistants who break the law could face fines of up to £5,000 and six months in prison. The ban, which follows similar restrictions imposed on larger stores and supermarkets in 2012, has the full backing of Public Health Wales (PHW).
Dr Tracey Cooper, PHW chief executive, is hopeful the measure will discourage children from taking up the habit. “Cigarette and tobacco packaging promotes brand identity for big tobacco companies, and is designed to appeal to particular groups including young people,” she said. “There is also evidence from other countries that the poorest and most disadvantaged communities have more tobacco retailers. These displays may be contributing to health inequalities in Wales, and fueling worse health for more disadvantaged people.”
An estimated 5,000 deaths each year are attributed to smoking in Wales, prompting the government to set a target to reduce levels by 16% by 2020. Plain packaging will be introduced in Wales next year.
With the Public Health Wales Bill to be published in the summer, politicians are also concerned about the widespread use of e-cigarettes – a recent online survey revealed that a fifth of secondary schools had seen pupils using e-cigarettes within school grounds.