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Saturday
Jun182011

DoH stats "little more than guesses" but vending machine ban goes ahead

Deborah Arnott and I are quoted in today's Sun.

We were asked to respond to a decision by Appeal Court judges to uphold the ban on tobacco vending machines, despite a challenge by Sinclair Collis, a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco.

ASH's chief executive told the paper:

"For years vending machines have been an easy source of cigarettes for children. The British Heart Foundation filmed kids of 14 undercover in pubs and on every occasion they were able to buy cigs unchallenged.

"Adults rarely use machines because they are expensive. Less than one per cent of sales are from machines, so the economic impact will be tiny. The health benefit is considerable."

My response:

"The vending machine ban is grossly disproportionate and not based on sound evidence. The overwhelming majority of machines are inaccessible to under-18s.

"Government policy seems to be about putting cigs out of sight in the hope smoking rates will fall. In fact, the more you put cigs under the counter and ban vending machines, the more you create an allure which people find desirable."

Rather more interesting are the words of the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger. According to the Sun he admitted the Department of Health's arguments were "not very convincing" but said tobacco's health risks meant courts should not interfere with Government restrictions.

The Daily Mail adds this telling information:

The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, said that given the health risks posed by tobacco, "virtually any measure which a government takes to restrict the availability of tobacco products, especially to young people, is almost self-evidently one with which no court should interfere".

Although statistics used by the DoH to justify the ban were "little more than guesses", the judge said they did "not appear fanciful" and the ban was "lawful" and "proportionate".

One person evidently disagreed. The Appeal Court judges voted by only 2-1 to uphold the ban.

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Reader Comments (8)

ASH reported that youngsters were most likely to buy their cigarettes on the black market, I am sure this will give the criminals another shove.

"Evidence being presented to a Health Select Committee hearing on health inequalities today will show that tobacco smuggling is exacerbating health inequalities and may also be discouraging younger smokers from quitting. Research commissioned by ASH reveals that 1 in 20 smokers in professional groups admit to buying smuggled tobacco but among poorer smokers the figure rises to 1 in 5. [1] There is also a strong association with age: the survey revealed that 1 in 3 of the youngest smokers in the sample (16-24 year olds) reported buying cigarettes from illicit sources. "


http://www.ash.org.uk/media-room/press-releases/new-evidence-on-tobacco-smuggling-presented-to-health-select-committee

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 8:44 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

" The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, said that given the health risks posed by tobacco, "virtually any measure which a government takes to restrict the availability of tobacco products, especially to young people, is almost self-evidently one with which no court should interfere".

Although statistics used by the DoH to justify the ban were "little more than guesses", the judge said they did "not appear fanciful" and the ban was "lawful" and "proportionate".

............................................................

The absurdity of this reasoning is demonstrated by simply stating it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 9:03 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

all they're doing is taking the most expensive cigs off the market ... how in the world is that going to make a difference to kids? Kids in five years time won't be asking each other where the vending machines are

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 16:15 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

I'm not sure of the legalities of this but could a vending machine company/trader take them to court? Their whole business, premises, machines, employees etc has now been rendered worthless at what the judge admits is a whim and virtually without evidence. Can the State really just close entire sections of industry with no justification? He has after all, pretty much admitted that what is what he has done.

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 20:07 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

Clearly it has nothing to do with children, no one is being fooled here. This is just being used as the excuse. Its about stopping tobacco from being sold, wherever they can.

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 21:59 | Unregistered Commentermakr

In Spain, bar owners etc, have to ask possible under age people their age, and get proof, before letting them use a cigarette vending machine. The bar owner then uses a remore device to enable the machine to the person concerned.

Such a simple and effective solution....too much to ask of the morons that supposedly run this country's tobacco controls isn't it?

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 11:25 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

In last poste "remore" is supposed to be remote! Sorry about that - it's anger that makes one rush things off and make mistakes, just like our health freaks really.

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 11:26 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

ASH's chief executive told the paper:

"For years vending machines have been an easy source of cigarettes for children. The British Heart Foundation filmed kids of 14 undercover in pubs and on every occasion they were able to buy cigs unchallenged.

When I read the above in the paper my immediate thought was ASH and BHF? This filming must have been a set up then!

Youngsters buy drink from supermarkets, they can't afford pub prices, so don't tend to go into pubs in the first place! As others have stated, vending machines are a very expensive way to buy cigs, but are used by adults 'in an emergency' to see them through until retailers are open.

Of course, this could also mean more drink driving (so more money for government) as people then resort to using their cars to find a garage open where they can buy a pack of cigs from!

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 11:56 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

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