May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Lisa Kashinsky
Friday, April 13, 2012
The drive to prevent young people from picking up smoking took another step forward last week when new legislation came into force requiring large supermarkets to keep tobacco products out of sight.
As of Good Friday, all shops and supermarkets of more than 280 square metres in England now have to cover up cigarettes and hide tobacco products from public view, most importantly from the eyes of children. Tobacco-related products can only be visible during sales to customers or while restocking. Shopkeepers who do not comply could be fined up to £5,000 or face imprisonment.
All other shops and businesses will be covered by the law from April 2015.
The move was based on evidence that cigarette displays in shops can entice youths to start smoking.
Government statistics show that five per cent of children aged 11 to 15 are regular smokers, with more than 300,000 under-16s trying smoking every year. Almost four in 10 adult smokers say they began smoking regularly before the age of 16.
The government’s move coincides with the Journal’s backing of the Deborah Hutton Campaign to cut the number of young people picking up the habit. Deborah, health editor at Vogue magazine for 20 years, quit smoking in her twenties after starting as a teenager, but died of lung cancer aged 49.
Ali Kara, of Anil Supermarket in Tottenham High Road, said: “One good thing is maybe that if the kids don’t see the cigarettes they might not smoke.”
Health Minister Anne Milton said: “We cannot ignore the fact that young people are recruited into smoking by colourful, eye-catching, cigarette displays.
“Banning displays of cigarettes and tobacco will help young people resist the pressure to start smoking and help the thousands of adults in England who are currently trying to quit.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “Sainsbury’s has been working hard to ensure that changes to supermarkets and large convenience kiosks around the country are smooth and that colleagues in store can continue to provide a quality service to customers.
“A pilot across four Sainsbury’s stores earlier in the year trialled the installation processes and refined the training that colleagues needed to serve customers well.”