A new survey has found that 77 percent of British adults are in favor of banning cigarette vending machines and 73 percent of them also want to ban shop displays of tobacco.
The government banned smoking in public on July 1, 2007 – making it illegal to smoke in pubs, restaurants, shops, or any other area used by the public. This led to a storm of controversy about whether government bodies had the right to enact such laws and how far they should infringe upon personal choice. Although some long-term smokers set up campaigns to try and repeal the law, eventually the majority of the public came to agree with it.
A reflection of this change of attitude was seen in the Cancer Research UK Survey, which revealed that three quarters of the public would support banning vending machines and shop displays of tobacco.
At the same time, politicians are discussing whether to ban smoking in vehicles. A lot of parents who smoke, have been using their car journeys as an opportunity to smoke, since they are banned from smoking in public areas. However, even with the windows rolled down, cigarette smoke can still be breathed in by their children. Passive smoking is extremely dangerous to children and may even cause meningitis in a child. How such a law would be enforced, remains unclear.
Tobacco is responsible for one in five cancer deaths in the UK and it kills five times more people than traffic accidents, overdoses, HIV, suicide and murder combined.
The government is planning to remove cigarette vending machines by 2011 and tobacco displays by 2013, but if they don’t have enough public support, they won’t do it. Now it looks likely to become a reality.
Tobacco displays have an enticing effect on young people with 35 percent more under 16’s saying they would like to try smoking, based upon shop displays and advertising.
Jean King, Director of Tobacco Control at Cancer Research UK, said
“We have to send a message that tobacco companies’ profits are more important than the health of our children. Ignoring this opportunity commits more lives to be blighted from an addiction that will kill half of all long term users.