Press Article: Compliance is High But More Needs to be Done 01/10/07
Compliance is High But More Needs to be Done 01/10/07
1 October marks the three-month anniversary since the introduction of a smokefree law that made smoking in workplaces and enclosed public places illegal in England.
Since then compliance levels have been high, in the first month of smokefree law, over 11,297 North East businesses were inspected and 98% were compliant with the law and were smokefree.
Today also marks another milestone in tobacco law, as the age of sale on tobacco products is increased to 18 years old, which means that from today, retailers will no longer be able to sell any tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 and they will need to display a statutory notice stating the new legal age restriction. Products affected will include cigarettes, cigars, loose rolling tobacco and rolling papers.
The move by the Department of Health aims to bring the legal age in line with alcohol and to deter children from starting to smoke, therefore avoiding the serious health dangers of smoking, as research has found most addicted adult smokers begin smoking as teenagers.
It has also been found that someone who starts smoking at the age of 15 is three times as likely to die from cancer due to smoking, than someone who starts smoking in their mid-20s. The earlier children become regular smokers and continue to smoke as adults, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer or heart disease.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh ? Smoke Free North East said: ?We welcome today?s new age of sale increase as a vital tool in tobacco control, which will help to prevent young people starting to smoke. Research shows that the younger a smoker starts the more likely they are to be killed by their addiction, so any legal measures to stop this have our full allegiance. It is important that monitoring is in place by local authorities to ensure that retailers are complying with this law.
?We also know that children often obtain their cigarettes from access to vending machines and steps must be taken to address this and also the unnecessarily high levels of point of sale advertising, which acts as an incitement to children to start smoking. There should be no vending machines and all tobacco products should be under the counter.
?Going smokefree three months ago was just another milestone in the long journey to reduce the harm caused by smoking. Smoking remains the greatest cause of premature death in our region, killing around 5800 adults every year. More than half the difference in life expectancy between our most affluent and least affluent groups is down purely to smoking and much more needs to be done to reduce this appalling gap.
?Fresh will be continuing its wide range of work with our many partners to maintain smokefree compliance, encourage and increase the number of quitters, and raise political and public awareness of the need for further action on this vital health issue.?
More information on the new age of sale legislation for young people and retailers is available on: www.tobaccoagechange.co.uk.