Council chiefs in St Helens have welcomed laws forcing tobacco to be sold in drab green packaging with dramatic visual health warnings.
Having received overwhelming support from North West MPs and the general public after YouGov data revealed that 63 per cent of people in the North West support the laws, the new legislation will do away with glitzy and glamorous packs to help protect the next generation from starting to smoke – something the council has called upon for some time.
Commenting on the legislation, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Jeanie Bell said: “This approach has proved successful in other parts of the world, resulting in a significant reduction in smoking rates due to the abolition of bright and appealing cigarette packages which lure children to a deadly addiction which claims almost 100,000 lives in the UK every year.
“This legislation is a victory for our children and young people - and a huge step in the right direction towards a smokefree generation.”
The new packs are required under the Standardised Packaging Regulations, secondary legislation under the Children and Families Act 2014.
There will be a one year transitional period to allow for the sell-through of old stock, so from May 2017 all tobacco products on sale in the UK will comply with the Regulations.
The law also comes into effect at the same time as the revised European Union Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which requires larger health warnings on the front and back of packets and prohibit slim 'lipstick'-style cigarette packs.
Sue Forster, Interim Director for Public Health at St Helens Council, said: “St Helens Council is committed to tackling the harm caused by tobacco in our communities, especially to children and young people, so this legislation is very much welcome and a significant day for public health.”