The tobacco display ban

You may have heard on the news that since Friday it has been illegal to display tobacco product openly in medium and large sized stores, with smaller shops following suit over the next couple of years.

Now I’ll declare an interest int that I used to be a heavy smoker – 80 odd a day – but gave it up back in 1979 when they hit the exorbitant price of £1 a packet. I haven’t smoked since, but I defend the right of smokers to kill themselves if they want to without criticism from me. After all, it’s their life…

But what I don’t get is the logic of shutting away tobacco behind a big grey door with the word ‘TOBACCO’ written on it in sodding great big letters. Just exactly how is this diverting the attention of potential smokers from cigarettes? On the contrary, I would have thought that it is making it more noticeable, more appealing, just more…naughty.

Have we learnt nothing from the US  experiment with prohibition. What happened when they made alcohol illegal? Well. basically it became more risque, more exciting, naughtier to have a drink. Crime flourished in illegal alcohol trade. People still drank – and the same thing will happen with this latest blunder on tobacco.

So if you want to stamp out smoking, then what’s the answer? Clearly simply making it illegal won’t work. There are two solutions :

The first is education – also known as propaganda, depending on your viewpoint. Then again, they just abolished the COI so could be a shortage of public information films to ram the message home. If you want to reduce smoking, then you need to convince people that it’s bad for their heath, that it’s anti-social. You need to stigmatise it.

The other solution is the good old fashioned pricing mechanism. I gave up all those years ago because I decided that it wasn’t worth the cost, so how about sticking £5 a packet on the duty in the next budget. That might out a few people off although doubtless it will cause a few bleats about penalising the working classes.

In the meantime, it’s now easier to find fags if you want them. They’re behind that big grey door with ‘TOBACCO’ written on it…


4 responses to “The tobacco display ban

  1. …so how about sticking £5 a packet on the duty in the next budget.Or make all smokers wear a yellow star on their clothes…?Christus, there really is nothing worse than an ex-smoker for lecturing and bullying those that still enjoy smoking (not me, I'm a never smoker)…How about just letting them get on with their perfectly legal lifestyle choice and leaving them alone?

  2. I agree with you, Barman. My point was "I defend the right of smokers to kill themselves if they want to without criticism from me. After all, it's their life"The point I was making was that pricing is an option if the government wants to 'stamp out' smoking. I wasn't suggesting that they should dictate to people, only that if they are serious then sticking fags behind a big grey door really is a pathetic way of going about it!!

  3. In my opinion removing the advertisement of tobacco products is a great step forward. We should all be trying to live healthier lives and cutting out smoking is a great step. And there are plenty of ways to do it. One of the best is to use electric cigarettes to replace tobacco ones while you quit.

  4. OK A.C. – I'd go with the advertising ban but just look at how the fag companies get round that one e.g. F1But I still think that if you ban something then it makes it macho to defy the ban. Just look at the bag of street cred the ASBO became. If you really want to stop smoking, then there's no substitute for good old fashioned resolve and will power. It worked for me.