Piccadilly Pulse: Do you think the tobacco display ban ensures children are safer from smoking?

By Charlie Bennet

Bans on tobacco displays at the point of sale is now in force, and this time in three years the law will be extended to small outlets.

It’s the latest change in an ongoing trend of tobacco control, following from a ban on tobacco advertising in public in 2003, the smoking ban in 2007, and the disappearance of cigarette vending machines in 2011.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the BBC this morning that two-thirds of smokers began before they were eighteen, and he hopes the placing of tobacco products under the counters will deter children from picking up the habit.

MM took to the streets of Manchester to ask:

Do you think the tobacco display ban ensures children are safer from smoking?

Don’t know10%

“Yes because some shops sell cigarettes to underage kids. I was roped into smoking at thirteen and it’s really hard to give up.” Jodie Garside, 20, unemployed, Stretford.

“It’s a complex issue and I can see why so many would be against it, citing the Big Brother State and so on. But advertising can attract children and many are concerned with fitting in. Displaying them can be harmful.”  John Bradshaw, 38, unemployed, Altrincham.

“Not really. Kids see cigarettes outside of shops, and they’ll still just ask an adult to purchase a packet for them as they currently do. So I don’t see how putting them under a counter improves anything.”  Charlotte Elizabeth, 23, carer, Salford.

“It makes no difference either way. But consumers who smoke still need to see the packaging and to see the prices clearly, or else they can’t make a confident purchase.“  Rob, 31, retail assistant, city centre.

“It won’t make much difference if smoking is made more taboo, and its more up to the parents to prevent children from smoking.”  Jane Smith, 28, accountant, Sale.

“If something is prohibited, it can prevent more people from using it.”  Joel Forbes, 23, student, Oldham.

“Kids know what cigarettes are without the help of supermarkets hiding them. But it’s generally a good thing.“  Brendan Collins, 32, CIS Insurance, city centre.

“I’m in agreement because we must all play a part in minimising the social factors that lead young people to smoke.”  S.E. Murghtcoyd, 55, secretary.

“I don’t think the packaging encourages children to smoke. The days of Joe Camel are long-gone. But speaking generally, they should be out of sight and not in reach.” Jake, 27, law student, Manchester.

“I wouldn’t say they are or aren’t safe from smoking. I can see others disagreeing, such as if they smoke. But I’ve never really thought about it.” – Mark Williams, 33, salesman, city centre.

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