The Gibraltar Government has said it will closely monitor a new initiative that will see supermarket retailers in England remove tobacco displays within the next 100 days. Britain’s Department of Health said the ban would protect young people who were often the target of tobacco promotion. From 6 April 2012, customers in England will still be able to buy Bond cigarettes online in the normal way, but the ban will mean cigarettes will have to be kept under the counter in supermarkets.
Smaller shops do not have to change their displays until 2015, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also moving toward similar bans.
“Ending tobacco displays in shops will protect young people from unsolicited promotions, helping them to resist the temptation to start smoking,” said Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England.
“It will also help and support adults who are trying to quit.’”
Smoking kills more than 80,000 people in England every year, the chief medical officer said.
Anti-smoking campaigners have argued that displaying cigarettes near to things like chocolate and crisps makes smoking seem like an everyday part of life.
Gibraltar has no plans at this stage to follow England’s lead, but the issue is under review.
“We will keep a close eye on these developments as part of wider plans to encourage and help people to stop smoking,” a Government spokesman told the Chronicle.
Prior to being elected in government, the GSLP/Liberals had included a lengthy pledge on smoking in their manifesto.
Although they did not give a timescale for implementation, action on smoking is likely to be a key priority for the new government.
At the time of the election the Alliance, in common with the GSD and the PDP, promised changes and reforms on this issue to reflect overwhelming medical evidence that smoking causes cancer and other health problems.
“We will introduce a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in Gibraltar which will be accompanied by a GHA programme to help those who want to stop smoking to do so,” the GSLP/Liberals said in their manifesto.
“We will offer restaurants, bars and social clubs generous tax and rates advantages to amortise any potential loss of business as a result of the smoking ban.”
“This is an important progressive step for Gibraltar that should enjoy cross party support.”
The Alliance also said there would be a permanent anti-smoking campaign in comprehensive schools and youth clubs.