Putting an end to the display and advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products in shops and other retail outlets will mean less pressure on children to smoke. The implementation of the highly successful 2003 States Tobacco Strategy is almost complete. “Since I became Medical Officer of Health in Jersey in 2005 the proportion of adults who smoke has dropped from 29% to 20% and the proportion of 15 year old teenagers from 38% to 21%” said Dr Geller. “I am delighted with these results but smoking remains the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in Jersey today”. The Public Health Department is asking islanders for their views on the latest anti-smoking measures.
The new regulations, if introduced, will place much stricter limits on advertising tobacco products, and see the removal of cigarettes and tobacco displays in shops, supermarkets, petrol stations and other retail outlets.
Research shows that the advertising and promotion of tobacco products is both directly and indirectly related to young people taking up smoking, then progressing from experimentation to regular smoking, and finally to continued smoking as adults. We want to see restrictions on the promotion of tobacco which will make a real difference.
The public consultation, which starts today, asks whether the proposed regulations are comprehensive enough and if retailers have enough time to adapt to the changes before the regulations are introduced.
There are three policy objectives behind the restriction of advertising and promotion of tobacco regulations.
Preventing young people taking up smoking
Tobacco products are often promoted in places that young people visit; for example in shops they visit on their way to and from school.
More than 80 per cent of smokers take up the habit in adolescence, so tobacco companies direct their marketing to young people to influence their decision to smoke and their initial brand choice. Restricting such advertising will help prevent young people take up smoking.
Reduce impulse buying in current smokers and those trying to quit
Tobacco control research has found that tobacco sales are boosted by point of sale promotions. One reason for this is an estimated 60 per cent of tobacco purchases are unplanned. Large displays in virtually every convenience store, supermarket, petrol filling station etc provide strong visual cues to consumers and prompts impulse purchases. A ban on visual displays (promotions) would help the smoker who is trying to quit and is likely to reduce consumption of current smokers.
Limiting the visibility of tobacco products across all advertising media will play a significant role in ‘denormalising’ tobacco products. Currently, retail displays are in plain view of children and adults which is inconsistent and contradicts public health messages about the harm that tobacco causes to health.
The consultation runs 24 November until 31 December. If you wish to take part in the consultation, download the consultation document on the website, or you can ask for a hard copy of the consultation paper by contacting Jane Le Gresley at Health Improvement on 443901Recent research evidence shows that research that someone who starts smoking at the age of 15 is three times more likely to die of smoking-related cancer than someone who starts in their late 20s. In Jersey, the number of young people who describe themselves as smoking regularly doubles between year 8 and year 10. Previous regulatory changes proposed and implemented by the Tobacco Strategy have included increasing the minimum age of purchase and banning smoking in the workplace. The Restriction on Smoking [Jersey] Law 1973 allows provision for the States of Jersey to make further Regulations regarding tobacco advertising.
Notes to editors