Cigarette Machine Ban Widely Welcomed

The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) praised parliament’s decision to ban cigarette vending machines, as well as the display of cigarettes in shops. Chief executive Dr Nigel Carter hailed the plans as a “great boost” in the lead up to the charity’s Mouth Cancer Action Month this month.

The House of Commons voted with the decision being to carry out this ban and so the details of these laws are now open for consultation.

Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to persuade people to make changes such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and watching their diet. Dr Carter emphasises that tobacco is the cause of three quarters of mouth cancer, as well as a major problem in relation to gum disease, any big decisions on the sale of tobacco will affect these issues dramatically.

Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK says half of all long-term smokers are killed by the habit.

The original plans for changes in cigarette sale involved limiting access to the vending machines, for example, landlords checking proof of age before activating the machine via remote control. However, leading health organisations including Cancer Research UK responded with a letter to the times, proposing the machines be removed completely.

Former Cabinet minister Ian McCartney said the machines present an “outrageous loophole” in keeping children away from cigarettes.

The banning of cigarette displays hopes to reduce impulse buying whilst still allowing the shopkeepers to stock and sell the products without breaking the law. Pricing lists will be displayed, but without any colours or branding to attract attention.

A similar ban already enforced in Iceland demonstrated a 5% decrease of 15 year old smokers within two years and experts believe that a decrease of teenage smokers will also be seen in Britain, once the proposed regulations have been passed.

Friday 27th November 2009

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