What should the Government be focusing its tobacco control efforts on?

The Government is laying out its plans for tobacco control, with responsible intentions.

Tobacco control in all parts of the UK all present similar plans to reduce the number of children taking up smoking, help adult smokers quit and protect non-smokers from passive smoke.

Next year the Department of Health is going to publish its tobacco control strategy for England that will cover the period up to 2021. We can expect many of the ASH proposals to be included.

If legitimate tobacco retailers embraced tobacco control, what would you want to see happen in the next five years that will reduce smoking levels in your community?

Here is what I’d like to see.

1. Registration of tobacco retailers

Scotland adopted a registration policy in 2011, the Welsh Government is proposing to bring retailer registration in as part of its Public Health Bill. It is likely the DoH will also bring registration to England.

One alternative is the licensing of tobacco retailing. Hungary has adopted this approach in 2013 when the number of outlets was reduced from 40,000 to 7,000.

2. Advertising the details of the Stop Smoking Services in tobacco stockists.

A key part of the Government’s strategy for reducing the number of smokers is to support people who wish to stop. The advertising of where people can get help to stop in their community in the place where they buy cigarettes would give positive support to the Government’s policy.

3. Continue the crackdown on the illicit tobacco trade.

One of the significant consequences of high tax on tobacco products has been the creation of a huge illicit market for these products. HMRC and the Border Force have been tasked with combatting this crime.

I know from personal experience that legitimate retailers can become victims of the seizure of illicit tobacco and would like to see longer sentences for criminals involved in this ‘trade’.

With the major tobacco control measures that affect retailers – either in place already or proposed – please let us know what you think tobacco retailers should do to help the Government meet its goals on reducing the number of people who smoke?


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