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Policies & Issues: Food

Our members are supportive of measures designed to reduce the prevalence of smoking amongst young people that are based on evidence and will be effective. We supported, for example, harmonising the age of sale with alcohol and have actively played our part through the introduction of Challenge 25 on tobacco products. We would also have preferred to see further legislation aligning it with alcohol, for example making it an offence to attempt to buy tobacco or buying it on behalf of an underage person. We felt that would put tobacco on the same basis as alcohol.

We were not convinced by the evidence on banning the display of tobacco in store and opposed the introduction of the ban that came into force in England in 2012 and is likely to follow in the other countries in the UK. There is a lot of evidence to show that children are influenced by their parents and peers, and also that children are obtaining tobacco from them. We were particularly disappointed that the Government chose to consult on plain packaging just after the ban was introduced. We believed that would have been a more comprehensive approach, standardising packaging both in stores and in the house where they could influence children. The plain packaging approach would have avoided the millions of pounds retailers have spent complying with the display ban.

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