March 24, 2015, by Faye Greenwood

Kicking the habit

A new blog by Faye Greenwood.

The call for standardised tobacco packaging was first initiated 3 years ago and it seems this campaign could soon come to fruition within a couple of weeks. Figures released by Cancer Research UK on 27th February 2015 indicate that based on current smoking rates, 2.7 million of today’s 12 million under 16 year-olds will become smokers as young adults, potentially leading to approximately 500,000 children dying from smoking when they are adults unless new approaches to reduce smoking rates are undertaken. This shocking and emotive statistic has once again catalysed the argument for plain, standardised packaging without branding, colouring etc. which could entice young people to buy tobacco products. Australia implemented this initiative of uniform packaging on the 1st of December 2012 with resulting statistics showing that this packaging reduces the appeal of tobacco to children with fewer young people taking up the habit and a reduction in smoking prevalence.

Current legislation on tobacco products include: EU Tobacco Product Directive 2001, Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2003 which prohibits any form of tobacco advertising and promotion, the inhibition of sponsorship of sport by tobacco companies in July 2005 and the Health Act 2009 in which display of tobacco products at the point of sale was prohibited with regulations initiated in April 2012 for large shops e.g. supermarkets and compliance necessary in all remaining shops by April 2015.

It was announced in January by the Public Health Minister Jane Ellison that the Government would vote on standardized tobacco packaging before the general election in May with new packs introduced across the UK in 2016 if the bid is passed. These iniative coupled with existing laws will hope to reduce children’s exposure to tobacco and deter taking up the habit.

Faye Greenwood is a third year MPharm student in the School of Pharmacy.

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