UK Government Changes Rules on Selling Tobacco
The UK government have decided to come in line with many other European countries and change the way that tobacco is sold. By next year, large retailers will only be allowed to store tobacco products under the counter so no one can see what brands are available or be tempted to buy them because of seeing them or their packaging. This is a move by the government to try to help people to quit.
The smoking rates in the UK tend to decline every decade but for the last decade they have remained the same. Therefore the government is trying this new technique to try to encourage people to quit or at least reduce the amount that they smoke. They are also discussing whether to just put plain packaging on tobacco products. This is something which is currently done in Australia but not in any other European country. It is seen as a very drastic measure and meant to emphasise the health warning on the packets.
The government has other systems in place as well to try to help people quit smoking with helplines and various medications and nicotine replacement products available on prescription. GP’s can give a lot of help for anyone wanting to give up. They also often increase the tax they charge on these products to try to stop people wanting to buy them. With all of these things in place but not reducing the amount of smokers, then these new measures are hoped to have a better effect.
Whether they work will remain to be seen. It seems that they have been successful in other countries, but that does not necessarily mean that they will work. Banning advertising was probably the best way to reduce smoking rates but the effect of this has now worn off. All smokers are aware of the health risks as well but this does not seem to put many of them off either. It will be interesting to see whether these new measures work or not, perhaps having it under the counter will make it seem rather more taboo and may put people off buying it.