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Tobacco plain packaging

Staffordshire traders supported through tobacco sales law changes – ten years after indoor smoking ban introduced

Staffordshire traders have been supported in adapting to the latest tobacco sales legislation by the county’s trading standards team as the nation marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces.

This Saturday July 1 it will be ten years to the day that the ban was introduced in England. Since the introduction in 2007, tobacco sales legislation has changed considerably. The legal age to buy tobacco was also raised from 16 to 18 in 2007. In 2012 the public display ban on tobacco products was brought in for large stores and supermarkets and extended to shops of all sizes in 2014. Last year plain packaging for tobacco was introduced, with the law stating that no branded products could be sold on or after May 20 2017.

Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team has worked with traders throughout the period of the law changes, ensuring they understood the laws and supporting them to adapt.

Plain packs are standardised, meaning the size, pack design, font type and font size are the same. In addition, the European Tobacco Directives (ETD) now require all cigarettes to only be sold in packs of 20 and hand rolling tobacco only sold in 30 gram packs. Misleading descriptions such as ‘lite’ and ‘natural’ are now prohibited.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

The ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces led to new laws on the sale of tobacco in this country. Our trading standards team has been working with businesses over the last decade to help them to adapt to new laws, particularly around age restrictions, tobacco displays and plain packaging. Ultimately this is about reducing the number of people smoking and most importantly to prevent young people from starting smoking. We know that making tobacco less attractive looking and less visible does have an impact. We’re confident this can have a real positive impact on public health in Staffordshire.”

The proportion of people in favour of the ban has increased from 78% in 2007 to 83% now, according to a report by Action on Smoking and Health.

Recent Public Health England figures show that 45 people a day die of cardiovascular disease caused by smoking – over 16,500 a year in England. In the West Midlands, nearly 16% of adults still smoke. Currently 15.7% of adults in the West Midlands region smoke – which is just below the England average of 16.9%.