20th March 2024

TS welcomes new tobacco Bill

CTSI research shows overwhelming support for new measures to restrict young people’s access to tobacco.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
Enforcing the new age restriction will present its own new challenges, but Trading Standards welcomes the increased protections it will provide

With the government’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill being introduced in Parliament today (20 March) to restrict the sale of tobacco to future generations, CTSI research has revealed that 80% of Trading Standards professionals support the new measures.

The Bill will increase the legal age of sale of tobacco by one year every year until 2027, effectively ensuring that people currently aged 15 and under never legally have access to tobacco. It also includes new rules on the sale of vapes, including restrictions on child-appealing flavours and packaging, and requirements that vapes are displayed out of children’s sight in shops.

Enforcement officers’ powers will also be strengthened with ‘on the spot fines’ of £100 to uphold the new laws. This builds on a maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose. It will also no longer be legal to give free samples of vapes to under 18s.

The government has already committed to ban the sale and supply of disposable vapes from April 2025 under separate environmental legislation.

CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: “Effective enforcement of age restrictions will be pivotal to the success of the government’s proposal, and the responsibility falls on Trading Standards to enforce these. There is resounding support from the profession for the proposed Smokefree Generation Policy who, as the boots on the ground, will have to ensure it is effectively implemented.”

“The eradication of smoking in the next generation will be an incredibly positive change to public health with smoking being the UK’s most preventable killer. Enforcing the new age restriction will present its own new challenges, but Trading Standards welcomes the increased protections it will provide.”

CTSI Lead Officer for Vaping, Kate Pike, said: “It is great news that Trading Standards Officers so strongly support the proposal to phase out smoking. We look forward to helping retailers introduce the changes and as always, we will take action against the minority who flout the law. We welcome this opportunity to help protect our communities from the harms of tobacco.”

Deputy Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Hazel Cheesman, said: “Trading standards professionals know what they are talking about when it comes to protecting young people from smoking. Enforcement of regulations over the last 20 years by Trading Standards has played a major role in bringing teen smoking down to an all time low.

“Raising the age of sale to 18, point-of-sale display restrictions and standardised tobacco packaging only work because they’re enforced. It is great to have the profession’s backing for the creation of a smokefree generation and their commitment to enforce further regulations to end the terrible burden of smoking on society.”

According to Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England said: “Smoking causes harm across the life course. This includes stillbirth, asthma, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 15 different types of cancer, stroke and dementia.

“If passed this will be a major public health measure which reduce illness, disability, and premature deaths for children today and future generations.”

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