The progression of smoking laws
As the busy preparation for the e-cigarette related section of the TRPR continues, we must also cast an eye over how the full set of pending regulations will affect smokers and the cigarette market.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and numerous other health organisations have been campaigning against smoking for decades and over the years have made some encouraging breakthroughs.
The advertising ban on cigarettes was a huge milestone in the fight against tobacco. This ruling was brought into force in 2003 and has since developed further with a ban on tobacco vending machines, sponsorship and the requirement for large shops to hide tobacco displays.
There was also of course, the widely documented smoking ban in enclosed public places, which arose amidst the fear of passive smoking. Tax increases, private premises regulations and child protection regulations have also contributed in the fight against tobacco, but it doesn’t stop there. Further tobacco regulations are pending and currently being phased in, throughout the UK.
Still to come…
For years now, tobacco companies have been required to display warning messages and images on cigarette cartons but they will have to abide by further regulations come May 20th.
All cigarette packets must be the same colour, shape, size and include warning text and images that cover 65% of the surface. Furthermore, standardised fonts must be used and, much to the tobacco company’s disgust, logos will not be permitted. You may have noticed these new packets already in circulation as most companies have already replaced their branded designs with the compliant packages in preparation for the deadline.
While tobacco giants may not be impressed, this method has been proved to work in the Australian cigarette market as it helps to diminish brand identity and positive brand stereotypes.
Cigarettes will also soon only be available in the larger 20 pack cartons, as opposed to the 10 packs that are popular among infrequent smokers. Sale of 10 packs will be prohibited from the 20th May so tobacco companies are rushing to get rid of their remaining stock. In addition, hand-rolled tobacco will only be available in 30g pouches or larger.
This particular law has baffled many who believe this will just encourage smokers to smoke more, however there are practical reasons behind the decision. Experts predict that smokers who would usually opt for a 10 pack (£4 approx.) will be discouraged to smoke if they have to pay £7 approx.
We will also start to see a decrease in the sale of menthol cigarettes. While this particular regulation doesn’t come into force for a few years, the phasing out process has already begun in preparation for the complete ban on May 20, 2020.
You may be wondering what relevance menthol flavouring has in the fight against smoking and why they are subject to harsher treatment than traditional cigarettes. Action on Health and Smoking explain that the change is occurring due to menthol cigarette’s appeal to younger smokers in the hope that they will quit the habit altogether rather than switching to traditional cigarettes.
It is no surprise that the government are also set to increase taxes on cigarettes this year. While taxes are often a very sore talking point I’m sure the majority of the population will agree that this particular change is of benefit to us all… Well may be not the tobacco companies.
This initiative will create a price floor on cigarettes and is particularly aimed at reducing the number of young smokers who tend to opt for the cheaper brands.
Is it refreshing to see our government stand up to the big tobacco organisations by introducing initiatives that are less about money and more about the health? Anti-smoking campaigners must be delighted with the action that is being taken and we will surely see further progression in the fight against smoking in the years to come.
Do you agree with the regulations that are being put in place and what further laws should be added? Let us know in the comments below.