Anti-Smoking Lobby in the UK Face Heat from Retailers
The anti-smoking lobby has grown stronger with the passage of everyday over the past few years. The government announced a ban on the display of cigarette packs in stores on Thursday that is also observed as ‘no smoking day’ in the UK.
The announcement was predictable as the law had been in news over the past few months. Apart from that, smoking is considered to be the biggest reason behind the ever inflating medical bills of developed countries all over the world. The situation is especially worrying for the British government, as 8 million people living in England still smoke, while another 80,000 die because of reasons related to smoking.
According to the targets set by authorities, they’re hoping to bring down smoking in the adult population to 18.5% from the current 21.2%; it also hopes to reduce the prevalence of smoking among 15-year-olds to 12% from the current 15%. Decision made by the government has resulted in mixed reactions as retailers complained that they will incur the costs of refitting their stores and suffer a fall in profits during these trying times.
Apart from retailers, tobacco Companies will have to bring about changes as well apparently, the government has asked manufacturers to sell cigarettes in plain wrappers. The decision has been taken to discourage younger people from smoking.
Another criticism that the government has faced because of the new decision is that many have felt that new ban has further raised the point that authorities are acting like a nanny state.
However, Prime Minister David Cameron, who himself was a smoker till recently, said that he was definitely not in favor of a ban on smoking in cars and in front of children. He felt that it was not exactly possible to have a legislative bill on this subject and that everyone needed to bring about some change in their attitudes.
One thing that works for the government is that smokers do bring in a lot of money for the state treasury as VAT charged on cigarettes’ end’s up amounting to £11 billion. The high amount of tax is generated despite the fact that smokers in the population have come down to the current 21% from a high of 45% in 1974.
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