display ban, tobacco, legislationWhile supermodel Kate Moss chose to celebrate national no smoking day by parading down the catwalk in Paris smoking a cigarette, the UK’s health secretary Andrew Lansley disappointed local retailers by promising to keep the tobacco display ban  – albeit starting at a later date.

Retailers are disappointed on two fronts: firstly, there is little evidence that similar bans in other countries are working; secondly, the government, when in opposition, promised it would revoke the ban. Local retailers also fear reputational damage, as shown in this cartoon from The Sun.

However, The Sun is no fan of the ban saying the display ban smacks of the “overbearing Nanny State.” It says the responsibility lies with “parents and grandparents to make sure their kids do not die an early and painful death.”

A survey in Merthyr Tydfil finds that the average age for children taking up smoking is just nine. One lad, the Sun reports, got hooked at the age of three because his grandparents thought it was funny to give him fags.

What retailers say is that the problem with youth smoking depends on where you live. Banning tobacco displays in areas where people buy their cigarettes from local gangsters is not going to have an impact.