Published Friday 20 May 2016 at 14:49
Local public health bosses have welcomed new laws around tobacco packaging which has come into force.
From today all tobacco on sale in the UK will begin to be sold in plain green packaging with dramatic visual health warnings.
The nationwide change in law comes on the back of a campaign run in the North West by Healthier Futures, which was supported by public health partners including those from Blackburn with Darwen.
The campaign, launched in 2011, called for an end to glitzy and glamourous packs which were proven to appeal to young people and children.
The new regulations, which received overwhelming support from North West MPs, have also been backed by the public with YouGov data showing 63 per cent of people in the North West of England have shown their support.
There will be a one year transitional period to allow for the sale of old stock, with all tobacco products complying with the regulations from May 2017.
The move comes ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, which will highlight the work going on around the world to implement standardised packaging and why it so important to tobacco control.
Councillor Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
This is a significant victory for common sense and I don’t think we can over-estimate the impact for change and improvement to health and life expectancy that this will have. Smoking spreads death and disease as well as untold grief to thousands of families all over the country. This is one of the best legacies we can leave to our children and is a vital step towards our goal of a smokefree generation.
Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said
I’m delighted that the collaborative local lobbying effort has been a success. It’s also vital and very pleasing to see that so many members of the public have backed the calls to introduce standardised packaging in order to help protect the next generation of children and young people from starting to smoke.
Malcolm Ridgway, from Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said:
Smoking is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in Blackburn with Darwen. The Clinical Commissioning Group welcomes plain packaging for cigarettes as a positive step in reducing the rates of smoking in the borough.
The new law comes into effect at the same time as the revised European Union Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). This will require larger health warnings on the front and back of packets and prohibit slim ‘lipstick’-style cigarette packs.