The Tameside Tobacco Alliance has welcomed the decision by the House of Lords to approve standardised tobacco packaging, meaning cigarette packets will become less appealing to children and young people.
It expressed the partnerships’ support of standardised packaging in a national consultation in August last year.
A North West Trading Standards survey suggests that 13 per cent of Tameside’s 14 to 17-year-olds are smokers, and that the trend for this is on a steep decline. The figures show a drop in smokers from 34 per cent in 2007 to 15 per cent across the North West in 2013.
This means about 87 per cent of Tameside’s 14 to 17-year-olds are smoke-free and we are confident that standardised packaging will help with the aim of increasing the proportion of young people who choose to remain so.
It is expected standardised packaging will be introduced at the same time as the EU Tobacco Products Directive measures on packaging and labelling, on May 20, 2016.
Tobacco packaging will be stripped of all attractive promotional aspects to make way for strong anti-smoking and health messages, helping to protect the next generation of children and young people from starting to smoke.
Angela Hardman, Tameside Council’s director of public health, said: “The evidence is clear that heavily branded, brightly coloured packs are attractive to children and this new legislation will prevent the tobacco industry from attracting their next generation of customers. We are delighted that the public and many organisations have supported us with this pioneering health measure.”
Andrea Crossfield, chief executive of Tobacco Free Futures which led the campaign in the North West said: “This is a victory for our children and young people, and a heavy loss for the tobacco industry.
“They have spent millions of pounds lobbying politicians to delay this measure because they know it will work. Support for standardised packaging across the North West is strong, with 60,000 urging the Government to remove branding and protect children during a consultation in 2012. Both MPs and Lords have now listened to the public.”
The Lords’ approval followed a vote by MPs to introduce the regulations with 367 members voting in favour and only 113 against. This means the UK now joins Australia and the Republic of Ireland by choosing to introduce this important health measure.
Tameside Tobacco Alliance is made up of partners including Tameside Council (public health, trading standards, environmental health, youth service, early years), the NHS Stop Smoking Service, Tameside Hospital, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, a local GP and New Charter.