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Going shopping

It's seven o'clock and I am standing outside Sainsbury's in Camden, north London.

In the next hour I shall be doing a number of interviews for BBC Radio. Subject: the introduction today of a ban on the display of all tobacco products in superstores such as, er, Sainsbury's.

I was invited to be on BBC Breakfast (BBC1) at 8.10 but I couldn't get from Camden to Television Centre in west London in time. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley got the slot instead.

Lansley is doing the rounds this morning. He's scheduled to be on Sky News after nine. I know because I'm following him - at 9.40.

More to follow ...

Update: Just followed Lansley on LBC. Question: why has the Coalition Government chosen to enforce legislation that both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposed when in opposition? Answers, please, on a postcard to ...

Update: Just been interviewed by Sky News at their studio in Osterley, west London. Now at BBC Television Centre (which is deserted) to do an interview on the News Channel. Some holiday!!

PS. Here's the press release Forest issued yesterday:


The smokers' group Forest has criticised the ban on the display of tobacco products which comes into force in large stores on Friday (6th April).

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “There is no justification for a display ban. There are tens of millions of people in Britain today who have never smoked and have never been encouraged to smoke by the sight of a packet of cigarettes in a shop or anywhere else.

“If the aim is to reduce smoking rates the display ban won’t work. After some initial confusion existing smokers will ask for their regular brand and carry on smoking.

“Under-age smoking, which no-one likes to see, is unlikely to be affected either. Children don’t start smoking because they see cigarettes on a gantry behind the counter. If they smoke it’s normally because of peer pressure or the influence of a relative who smokes.

"The display ban is intended to denormalise cigarettes but tobacco is a legal product and adult consumers have a right to see clearly and without impediment the choice that is available to them."

Update: Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says aim is to make Britain "smoke free", whatever that means.

See also: Shops Banned From Displaying Cigarettes (Sky News), New rules ban big retailers from promoting tobacco (ITV News), Grocery stores in England banned from displaying cigarettes (Fox News)

Update: Listen to Pat Nurse on Five Live last night and Dave Atherton on Five Live Breakfast this morning. Interviews begin at 11:52 and 2:13:45 respectively.

Below: An interview I did for ITV's Daybreak. Click and scroll down for interviews with me; Barbara Hern, deputy chief executive of the National Children's Bureau; and Amanda Sandford of ASH.

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Reader Comments (19)

"why has the Coalition Government chosen to enforce legislation that both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposed when in opposition"?

Yes this is an interesting point ,my guess is they are not in control of policy ,our governments are now no more than a facade.
They do as they are told.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 9:22 | Unregistered Commenterc777

My other-half has just reported his recent purchasing experience to me. Apparently the queue was full of people saying 'This is really stupid' and the sales staff were responding 'Yes we know it's really stupid'.

Wow. Great result eh?

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 10:35 | Unregistered CommenterNoodlebug

"Question: why has the Coalition Government chosen to enforce legislation that both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposed when in opposition? Answers, please, on a postcard to ..."

Perhaps someone made them an offer they couldn't refuse?

Perfect timing though, in the same week as the pasty tax and the petrol panic,the very visible "hide the cigarette" game in supermarkets should be quite enough to convince anyone who has not been paying attention, that our current government has taken leave of it's senses.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 10:51 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Noodlebug - this kind of response should get back to fat-head Lansley.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 11:34 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Henson

They're taking over as a religion - Ash Wednesday has already been high-jacked now they're using Good Friday.
Anyone got a few crosses? I've got thoughts of a good use for Easter Sunday

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 11:54 | Unregistered CommenterXopher

Not much point in passing it on to Lansley. Governments just believe the polls they're fed. They always seem to be completely disconnected from the real opinions of people, and walk around with blinkers on. More especially these days when everything's about 'ranking' on the world stage rather than anything that actually matters. I'm afraid I've given up on politicians of all persuasions.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 12:01 | Unregistered CommenterNoodlebug

I just saw your update, Simon. Presumably if Britain is to be 'smoke-free', there'll be no more barbecues (I understand that just one generates the equivalent smoke of 600 cigarettes), no more bonfires or fireworks, no more wood fires in country cottages, and no more cars presumably.

What's that? Oh, he just meant tobacco products? There's logic for you.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 13:01 | Unregistered CommenterNoodlebug

Me and Patsy Nurse have been doing our bit today too. Patsy was on Radio 5 Live last night.

Pat Nurse on Radio Five last night v A Sandford 11.52 in.

My good self on Radio Five Part 1

2.13.45 in

I was then invited back for a 30 minute phone in with Deborah Arnott.

Dave on Radio Five part 2

06.30 in

If this get posted in time I am BBC Radio WM (Birmingham) at 4.05

And BBC Radio London at 5.20

I am also quoted on the BBC's main webste.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 15:21 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

My mother was told in sainsbury's that they had run out of her brand and that they weren't allowed to restock during shopping hours because the packs would be seen in the store.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 15:40 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Dear Noodlebug. And no more steam fairs with those lovely rollers, no more candles, incense, matches, scouts rubbing sticks together, camp fires, indoor sparklers, firelighters, York Railway Museum, Old Style barges on Canals, Incinerators, or fast food roasted pig stalls.
Except in the MP's bar.
Makes you want to spit.
The world, ruled by children, has gone mad.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 16:20 | Unregistered CommenterGrumpybutterfly

Go on then, Lansley, make tobacco illegal!

No? Thought not.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 17:34 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Government hate their Country, its people and their way of life.
It destroys what we built and what works.
Replaced by nuBritain designed by fools with no respect for their 'subjects'.

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 20:44 | Unregistered CommenterXopher

Just thinking can we have some fun with this ban. I would like some of those cigarettes in the blue pack, no not those ones after an hour or so of holding up the everyone and a vast array of cigarettes on the counter, nope I guess I will have to head over the channel to get the ciggies I want. Just a thought.

Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 7:26 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Thanks simon for the add.

Noodlebug the actual figure is 220,000 cigarettes.

"Barbecues poison the air with toxins and could cause cancer, research suggests.

A study by the French environmental campaigning group Robin des Bois found that a typical two-hour barbecue can release the same level of dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes.

Dioxins are a group of chemicals known to increase the likelihood of cancer.

The figures were based on grilling four large steaks, four turkey cuts and eight large sausages."

Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 8:37 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

God these laws are so oppressive! But it'll work, because, as with the smoking ban, it puts the onus on the business person. The owners of shops may hate this legislation with every cell in their body; they may hate the expense, they may hate the hassle, they may hate the fact that every customer to whom they are supposed to be providing with quality customer service is either abusive, insulting, pissed off or deliberately time-wasting in order to make a point. But it won't go anywhere as it won't be ASH or Lansley facing the backlash and the law will come down on a ton of bricks on any shop keeper who ignores it.

That said, Tobacco Control have reached the end of the line. Anything else they come up with, whether it be car bans or home bans will simply not work as, unlike this and the smoking ban, there is no helpless middle man to police their stupid regulations for them. It'll be up to the Police, who, quite frankly, have better things to do than chase down 15,000,000 smokers.

They're getting desperate and even the likes of Arnott know it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:52 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

Hmm let's think, shall we?..

...take a legal product and 'criminalize' not only its use but make the mere sight of it a venal sin...hide it away in plain wrappings behind bullet proof steel doors...demand purchasers present ID, DNA sample and a note from their parents to prove that they are adults.

Personally, having had kids, I can think of no better way to make a product appeal to every teenager ever...except perhaps editing out images of people smoking from films and tv- now that WILL boost the number of teenage smokers over night.

"there is something adults do and that I am not allowed to even see?" Nope, can't see how that would interest the average teenager in the slightest...[/sarcasm]

Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 13:44 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

I've got a better idea - if they're really serious about protecting the children then get the smokers off the streets and back into the pubs.

The children will not witness the 'act', nor inhale the perceived deadly SHS.

And, I will be able to enjoy my pint and puff in peace again!

Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 16:30 | Unregistered CommenterPensioner Ellie

Ellie, if the Government really wanted to stop teenagers starting to smoke then they need to make smoking something that 'only old people do' -like going to church, wearing hats and smelling slightly of pee.

Instead of hiding the cigarettes away in plain packets behind 'Blast Shutters' they should insist that Big Tobacco uses L A R G E PRINT on their packets and force shops to put them on the same shelves as the Cod Liver Oil , Incontinence Aids and Epsom Salts. They would insist that every packet be sold with a complimentary copy of Saga or Caravan Weekly.

No self respecting teenager would then be seen dead with a cigarette.

Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 18:08 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

I had to laugh when I heard some anti saying that the point of this ban was to hide cigarettes. As Ellie says above, the Smoking Ban has made smoking more visible than ever, I was in Brum the other day and it seemed like everyone was smoking. Not only did you have the scores of people outside each office smoking, but you also had the people who had finished early and were out on the town smoking on the street as they moved from pub to pub, getting their fags in before they reached their next destination. As a hardcore smoker even I was taken aback by the scene - it was like visiting "Smoky Town."

Yep, much better than having everyone locked away in pubs.

Antis. God, how I loathe them....

Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 15:01 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

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