News story

The end of open tobacco displays: 5 months to go

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Rules that prevent supermarkets from displaying tobacco will be extended to all businesses in April 2015.

Newsagents, pubs, clubs and shops will stop displaying tobacco products from April 2015 as part of the government’s strategy to reduce the number of smokers.

Although fewer people smoke than ever before, more needs to be done to help people quit. Smoking continues to cause nearly 80,000 premature deaths in England each year.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said:

Eye-catching displays of colourful cigarette packets can encourage young people to start smoking and undermine the resolve of adults who are trying to quit. Responsible retailers already play a key part in helping to protect young people from the harmful effects of smoking.

The ending of open displays of tobacco in supermarkets has already come into effect. With only 5 months to go before the legislation applies to all shops and businesses selling tobacco, I strongly encourage retailers to start preparing for the changes now.

The government wants to prevent young people from smoking. Most adult smokers started as children or in their teens. Evidence from Cancer Research UK shows that, despite the success of the ban on tobacco advertising, displays continue to encourage young people to take up smoking.

Display changes are part of a wider strategy to reduce smoking prevalence and in particular to protect children. Other measures include making it illegal to buy tobacco for under-18s, or to smoke in cars carrying children.

In April, smokers will be able to buy their cigarettes and tobacco exactly as they do now. The new rules will not limit availability. The tobacco industry can give advice to retailers on how to make sure their displays comply with the new rules. Businesses may simply choose to remove cigarette packs from open view, but could still publicise that they are for sale.

For more information, retailers can contact their trade body or the trading standards department at their local authority.