Tuesday, 14 September 2010

“Help Us, Andrew Lansley – You’re Our Only Hope!”

Whatever happened to the late, unlamented government’s ban on displays of cigarettes?
It is due to come into effect for supermarkets from late next year and from October 2013 for small shops. But the coalition government has not yet decided whether to implement the measure, which was passed by the Labour administration as part of the Health Act of 2009.
Oooh, let’s hope that spells trouble for the NuPuritans!
Representatives for small businesses and the tobacco industry have told ministers that proceeding with the plan will threaten the livelihood of thousands of newsagents and increase the consumption of black market cigarettes.
And it looks like they are getting through:
It had been thought likely that the cabinet's Reducing Regulation Committee, set up to ease burdens on business, would scrap the ban when it meets tomorrow. Anti-ban campaigners had privately voiced confidence that business secretary Vince Cable, who chairs the committee, shared their concerns.
However, it could be that the anti-smoking brigade has one last gasp:
But the issue's importance means the final decision is now likely to be taken only after discussions involving Cable and health secretary Andrew Lansley.
And they plan to wheel out all the big guns to ensure they get their way:
Many of the UK's leading medical practitioners, including Sir Terence Stephenson, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics, believe a ban on displaying cigarettes publicly will cut smoking rates and improve children's health by reducing their exposure to tobacco products.

They ‘believe’? Based on what, evidence?
Stephenson is among several key medical figures demanding that the coalition does not go back on the ban. "This is a vitally important public health measure," he said.
No it isn’t. It’s a pointless, grandstanding waste of time.
Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, which represents the UK's hospital doctors, said: "Our society should aim to take smoking out of all our lives, and this includes preventing children from being subjected to tobacco advertising in shops at the point of sale.
Other countries like Ireland and Canada have shown that this works, and so now it is time for our government to protect children by fully implementing the legislation to ban point-of-sale advertising and vending machines. Surely we owe this to the future health of our children."
Oh, won’t someone think of the chiiillllreeeennnn!

And all those anti-smokers out there nodding and smiling at this, just have a care. If you like a drink or the occasional fast food treat (and who doesn’t?) just remember you too are on their list…
Dr Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, wants ministers to implement both the public display ban and the outlawing of cigarette vending machines in pubs. "Tobacco kills and these are simple, relatively cheap measures that are designed to protect children from a very toxic substance."
Ah, where ‘simple, relatively cheap measures’ means ‘something that will never affect me, so I could care less how much it’ll cost’.

And is it amazing how they never seem to use such language to vilify other addicts, say, those addicted to heroin or cocaine? Because addicts are what smokers are (along with people addicted to sweet things!) according to new studies, as Leg-Iron points out.

But maybe, just maybe, the ConDems will stand firm:
A Department of Health spokeswoman declined to say whether Lansley backed the ban or not. "The government has already announced its intention to consider options around the display of tobacco in shops that will seek to balance public health priorities with reducing unnecessary burdens on business," she said. "Details will be announced in due course."
Can’t wait!

I hope they all have to choke on their muesli, yoghurt and tap-water breakfasts….


Dick Puddlecote said...

"Other countries like Ireland and Canada have shown that this works"

If works means driving up youth smoking rates, they have a point, cos that's exactly what has happened in Iceland, Ireland and Canada. In Thailand it was such a disaster that they recently had a complete rethink.

File in "we feel we should do something but don't know what"

Angry Exile said...

It may interest you to know - you too, DP - that down here the tobacco firms and retailers are running adverts against doing the same thing, and saying that it's already been rejected in Canada and the UK (I'll see if I can record one and put it online). I'm on their side but I feel that's a card they're playing too early ... unless they know something.

Dick Puddlecote said...

I'd certainly like to see that, AE. The idea was rejected in New Zealand, they spotted that it wouldn't make any difference to smoking rates, but had the potential to make cigs appealing to youngsters and also incentivise the black market.

St Moritz - patron saint of smokers said...

All utter tosh as usual from the anti's.

JuliaM said...

"In Thailand it was such a disaster that they recently had a complete rethink."

We never seem to have officials who will admit this openly, do we?

"...I feel that's a card they're playing too early ... unless they know something."

Indeed. Never count on our loons to do the sensible thing...