Trading Standards Information and Advice: Reducing smoking addiction in childhood

The UK Government has decided to go ahead with legislation to prohibit retail premises from having tobacco displays to create an environment in which smoking appears less attractive to children as well as supporting adult smokers who are attempting to quit.

The announcement that was included in the national Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England sets out how tobacco control will be delivered over the next five years.

Large retailers will be required to comply with the legislation from April 2012 and all other retailers will not be required to comply until April 2015. This should allow retailers enough time to prepare for these important changes which are necessary to improve public health and protect children.

Evidence gathered during 2010 by trading standards departments showed tobacco companies had targeted large music festivals to promote their products. Due to the events having large teenage audiences, the manufacturers were able to target the youths through sponsorships and special promotional displays of tobacco packs. Such evidence highlights the need for effective enforcement of tobacco control legislation and this new legislation shows that Government recognise that effective enforcement is a key element of its comprehensive approach to improving public health.

Every year 100,000 people in the UK die prematurely from tobacco related illness and approximately 340,000 under 16s try cigarettes for the first time. It is estimated that eight out of ten smokers start before the age of 19. It is with this in mind that further restrictions were put into effect from October 2011 prohibiting the sale of tobacco products from vending machines in order to restrict children’s access.

Retailers can rest assured that trading standards will work closely with them to ensure compliance by offering appropriate advice and support.

Trading Standards regularly carry out test purchases in licensed premises across the County in order to protect East Sussex Consumers.

To help us identify businesses that are illegally selling goods to underage people we need volunteers aged 14 to 16½.

• To find out more about how to become a volunteer visit: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/tradingstandards/advice/underage/report