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Monday, 26 May 2008
Tobacco sales

Note: In light of recent developments North of the Scottish border I decided to resurrect this post, which I posted on 23 April 2007 but in a “closed” status so that it never appeared in the blog. I am adjusting the “posted date” to today, but please bear in mind that it was originally written 13 months ago.


I was standing in the supermarket the other day, looking at the tobacco counter, and thinking I had spotted a hole in the UK anti-tobacco advertising legislation.  Actual brands are banned from overt advertising displays. The exception is if they are less than an A5 size, 30% of which must contain government health warnings. However the generic non-brand tobacco display (as per the above photograph) doesn’t have to contain the proportion of government health warning and is not limited in size. 

On 1 July the next step in the smoking clampdown kicks in with a ban on smoking in public places. Today the papers report that the British Medical Association is putting forward the next measures the government can take, focusing particularly on measures to make it more difficult for young people to buy cigarettes, and to focus on children who are subjected to second-hand smoke by their parents.

I am surprised to see how prevalent the latter is: just yesterday I spotted a woman driving her two young children (who were in car seats) while puffing away at a cigarette. The BMA recommendations fall short of measures that would address this for fear of:

potentially opening itself up to charges of undue interference in family life, but instead limited itself to calls for greater help for smokers wishing to give up.

I think most smokers want to give up, but find it very difficult. If it’s not practical to make smoking in the car with your children illegal (perhaps there are questions of enforcement), then surely there’s a way to highlight the problems with this behaviour without being seen as “interfering in family life”?  Isn’t a parent who smokes in the car with their babies in the back interfering with their lives?

Posted by bigblue on 26/05/2008 at 02:54 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (3) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

40% of smokers die of a smoking disease.  Next time you meet up with another smoker consider that the chances are either you or them will die from smoking.

Taxpayers have to pay the extraordinary economic cost of smoking.  Friends and colleagues have to pay the emotional and social costs.  Family members are involuntarily subjected to both sets of costs.

Posted by flank  on  31/05/2008  at  12:54 AM

We withdraw some medical support from certain patients e.g. alcoholics aren’t eligible for liver transplants. The state could likewise withdraw tax-payer support to tobacco users. Then they retain their right to kill themselves but at their own expense.

Posted by Janet  on  31/05/2008  at  07:11 PM

@flank: I’m surprised that the figure is that low. I would have thought it was higher.

@Janet: I am sure that smokers are with-held certain treatments on the same medical grounds as other addicts (e.g. organ donation). There is also the point that the earlier the state can intervene the more cost-effective it is for the taxpayer. Therefore more should be spent on preventative programmes and treatment to help smokers give up.

Posted by bigblue  on  31/05/2008  at  11:55 PM

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