Monday, 2 April 2012 12:58:57 Europe/London
This month saw No Smoking Day in the UK. The day (it was on Wednesday March 14th if you missed it) came and went with relatively little media attention. The idea of No Smoking Day is to remind people of why they wanted to quit in the first place; raising awareness of the dangers of smoking and providing support and access to help for people who need it. For many people, the dawn of a new year provides the much-needed impetus to try and quit smoking. But by mid-March, already nearly a quarter of the way into the year, most people have long-forgotten their new year’s resolutions, however, and have slipped back into old habits. Although organisers of No Smoking Day claim that via the promotion of the day, along with a series of organised local events; one million Brits attempt to quit smoking on No Smoking Day. The reality is, however, that despite the big investment and all of the efforts put into bringing the day to people’s attention, the majority of smokers pay no attention to No Smoking Day and of those who do attempt to quit, a large number will return to smoking cigarettes. With quitting smoking an evidently arduous task, many smokers are looking towards smoking alternatives, such as electronic cigarettes, rather than quitting smoking altogether. Electronic cigarettes (also referred to as e-cigarettes or e-cigs) can be used as a long-term form of nicotine replacement and therefore a viable alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes. Designed to look like cigarettes and replicate the ‘puffing’ action of smoking, electronic cigarettes are rapidly growing in popularity; particularly in the UK and the US.
Monday, 12 March 2012 12:37:25 Europe/London
The Welsh government are to consider an amendment to the ban on smoking by allowing cigarettes to be utilised on television and film sets in Wales where it is “artistically integral” to the drama. Currently, the legislation in place in Wales makes it illegal for cigarettes to be smoked in any enclosed public spaces and places of work, including film sets and studios. Despite this proposed amendment to the smoking legislation, which is being considered by some as a ‘relaxation’ of the law, the Welsh government have launched a high profile campaign to outlaw smoking in cars in the country. The Fresh Start campaign, which was launched last month, is being used as an initial step to try and drive down smoking in cars where children are present. The Welsh government have committed to tackle the problem by way of enforcing a ban should the campaign not be sufficiently effective after three years. Dr Tony Jewell, chief medical officer for Wales said: "There is robust evidence that the level of toxic chemicals is very high in cars, even with a window open. The Fresh Start Wales campaign aims to make people aware that smoking in cars is dangerous for their passengers, particularly children." According to a You Gov Survey for Ash Wales, four out of five Welsh adults supported a ban on smoking in cars when under 18’s were present. Last year the British Medical Association called for an outright ban to be brought in on smoking in cars, regardless of the age of any passengers.
Monday, 20 February 2012 09:52:27 Europe/London
The past 10 years has seen the introduction of major regulation changes and increasing restrictions on smoking and tobacco, but what, if any effect, have these policies had on the smoking rates in the UK? On first inspection of the statistics, it would seem quite substantial. Go back to 2002, the rate of smoking in the UK was reported at 27%. And yet in 2010, the figure averaged at 21% of UK adults. The ban on tobacco advertising, which was brought into force in 2002, the ban on smoking in public places and places of work, which came in in 2007, and the introduction of ‘smoking kills’ messages along with graphic images, seem therefore to have had a dramatic impact during this relatively short period of time. Figures from the other side of the world in Australia, where restrictions on smoking are even more severe than in the UK, also report a drop in smoking rates. 15% of adults in Australia smoke, with the level of 14- to 17-year olds who smoke coming in at just 2.5%. Some argue, however, that rather than the smoking bans that have come into force in the UK, it is simply that people’s awareness of the dangers of smoking cigarettes has continued to increase. Certainly, if you look at the smoking rates of some 40 years ago, when 51% of men and 41% of women in 1974 smoked, there is strong suggestion that smoking levels in the UK have followed a general decreasing trend over many years. Ultimately, it is difficult to conclude whether the rate of smoking would have continued to fall without the active intervention of the government. What is certain is that there will be further restrictions and bans on cigarette smoking and the tobacco industry to come, with plain packaging on cigarettes looking set to be the next controversial step.
Monday, 16 January 2012 10:02:45 Europe/London
A supermarket in Leicestershire has become the first place in the UK to ban the display of cigarettes and tobacco products in its kiosks. Tesco in Market Harborough recently initiated the tobacco display ban as a trial in the store, with all cigarettes and tobacco items now being stocked on shelves hidden by plain white sliding doors. The scheme has also brought a ban on all signage advertising the sale of cigarettes at the tobacco kiosk indeed anywhere in the store. Tesco plan to roll out the trial to 2,865 stores across the UK before the UK-wide ban on tobacco displays in larger stores comes into force in April 2012. The new law, which will also be enforced on tobacco displays in smaller shops by 2015, is aimed at reducing the number of people who smoke in the UK from 20% to 18.5% of the population by 2015. The ‘under the counter’ approach is intended to reduce the temptation to by cigarettes in an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. It is hoped that the ban on cigarette displays will especially discourage younger people from purchasing cigarettes. Anne Milton, Public Health Minister, commented on the Tesco trial: "We welcome this move by Tesco in Market Harborough. "Tobacco displays will come to an end in supermarkets in April next year, and in all shops in 2015. "This will help discourage young people from taking up smoking and help adult smokers who are trying to quit."
Tuesday, 3 January 2012 12:01:28 Europe/London
Following on from an article we published a couple of weeks ago about ministers in Northern Ireland proposing a ban on smoking in cars, the story hit the headlines as a UK-wide ban was proposed by the British Medical Association (BMA). A ban on smoking in cars when children are present has been proposed in Northern Ireland, and a consultation on the issue will be launched. The British Medical Association suggested further extensions of these proposals last week, saying that the ban should be extended to cover the whole of the UK, and that the ban should be on smoking in cars altogether – not just where children are present. The BMA have stated that the ban would ‘protect people’ from high levels of toxins - citing research which shows that the levels of toxins present in the air after smoking in a car can be 23 times higher than the levels of toxins from the air in a smoky bar. Despite the headline-grabbing recommendations, the Government in the UK and Scotland have made no indication that they will be proposing any such ban. In Wales, a public awareness campaign is underway warning people about the dangers of smoking in cars. Health officials have said that if the campaign does not have the desired effect, they will consider bringing a ban in in three years’ time. Smoking in cars when children are present is already banned in Australia, Canada, and in some states in the United States.