How is the law trying to stop people from smoking, one country at a time?

by Roqeebah O.

The controversy surrounding cigarette smoking has been raging for as long as anyone can remember. Battles between tobacco companies and law enforcement have ensured that no one can relate to any cigarette brand without the popular line: “smokers are liable to die young”. Yet, the controversy persisted.

Now, the UK is set to change things up a little bit more with a view to reducing the rate at which people smoke.

By the 21st of May, there will be six new laws championed by charities like Action on Smoking and Health whose Amanda Sandford says she hopes the new rules will make smokers think twice about spending money on cigarettes when the price of a packet hits them hard in the pocket.

The news laws will stub out the popular 10 packs so that smokers will no longer be able to buy so many of them at once. At the moment, rolling tobacco comes in 10g and 20g packets – but soon 30g will be the smallest size. Smaller bags containing less than 30g of roll up tobacco will also be banned completely while the cheapest packet will now cost £8.82.

Beyond this, menthol cigarettes will completely be phased out by May 2020. Menthol cigarettes, according to experts have often been aimed at beginner smokers so this is specifically aimed at the younger and poorer smokers. According to Amanda Sandford of Ash, “this will hit poorer smokers harder, who are usually younger smokers.”

“Paying £3 or £4 for a packet of ten cigarettes at the moment might not seem so much to people and still leave them with change in their pockets. But when you have to spend £6/£7, even £9, people may think, ‘Do I really need this packet?”

Roll-your-own tobacco, including fruit, spice, herbs, alcohol, candy or vanilla, will also be made illegal.

The dull new design has replaced the colourful attractive branding on cigarette packs

A new dull design will also be enforced to replace the current shiny and attractive packaging. The new packs are expected to feature the cigarette brand name in standard font on the front and below, a huge health warning and graphic images of smoking-related illnesses.

The aim of these new regulations are simple – to cut the number of people taking up smoking by making it less appealing younger people. According to Cancer Research, two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18 – the beginning of an addiction which will kill up to two in three long-term smokers.

Already, laws like these are already in force in Australia where standardised packs have been mandatory since December 2012. They say figures already suggest smoking has declined since then to just 13% of the population.

France has also banned branded packs, with laws coming into force on January 1.

Canadian campaigners are calling for the legal smoking age to be raised to 21, and pregnant women being offered £260 in shopping vouchers if they quit, as experts warn.

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