Assembly plans to outlaw cigarette machines

Under the proposals the use of vending machines and the displaying of tobacco products in shops will be barred in an effort to discourage youngsters from smoking.

The move was last night welcomed by Dr Richard Lewis, Welsh Secretary of the British Medical Association Wales.

He said: “BMA Cymru is very pleased that the Assembly is planning to introduce measures to protect children and young people from tobacco,” he said.

A PLAN to ban cigarette vending machines has been unveiled by the Welsh Assembly Government.

A PLAN to ban cigarette vending machines has been unveiled by the Welsh Assembly Government.

“A teenager might think cigarettes are cool but the reality is that it is one of the most dangerous things they are likely to do – it has a 50% chance of killing them.

“Displaying packets of cigarettes in shops, cigarette vending machines and tobacco packaging all contribute to normalising the habit and encourage the onset of smoking. It is essential that cigarettes are made less accessible to children and these proposals will go part of the way in achieving this.”

Chris Mulholland, head of the British Lung Foundation Wales, said: “Smoking rates are still too high among our children and young people. Almost a quarter of girls aged 15 and 16 smoke.

“Research shows that vending machines are a regular source of tobacco for 17% of teenagers who smoke. That is why we support the proposals to ban the sale of tobacco through these machines, and the display of Camel cigarettes.”

After a three-month consultation period, which will be completed by July 6, the Assembly aims to introduce the regulations and bring Wales in line with other countries in the UK after Westminster voted for the proposals last October, as part of the Government’s Health Bill. It is expected the ban will come into force in October 2011, with the ban on larger stores coming into affect from October 2013.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “The Welsh Assembly Government’s aim is to protect children and young people from the very serious risks of smoking, while ensuring that the regulations are cost-effective in practice.”

Under the proposals, specialist tobacconists will still be able to display products within their shop, providing the displays cannot be seen from outside.

Shadow Health Minister Andrew Davies welcomed the move, but stressed the need for the ban to be part of a range of measures to encourage people to give up smoking.

He said: “We must ensure children and young people are fully aware of the dangers of smoking if we have any hope of deterring them from taking up this addictive habit.”

But Simon Clark, director of smokers’ lobby group Forest, said the ban will have little impact on the numbers of youngsters smoking.

He said: “We are against the display ban because there is very little evidence to suggest it will have an impact on young people smoking. It is a consumer product and people should be allowed to see the products on the shelves. Not only will the display ban cost small shops a lot of money, it may actually make smoking more attractive to teenagers.”

What do you think? Would you like to see cigarette machines banned? Let us know in the comments below

source: walesonline.co.uk

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