Smoking in the United Kingdom

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Tobacco smoking in the United Kingdom is prevalent among a sizeable minority of the population. Smoking is legally permitted, with certain conditions upon location arising from the bans enacted separately in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is generally recognised that smoking in the UK puts considerable strain upon the National Health Service (NHS) due to the health problems which can be directly linked with smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. Successive UK Governments have endeavoured to reduce the prevalence of smoking. As part of this commitment the NHS currently offers free help to smokers who want to stop smoking.

As recently as 1979, some 45% of the British population smoked, but this was down to 30% by the early 1990s, 21% by 2010, and 19.3% by 2013, the lowest level for 80 years.[1][2] An annual No Smoking Day has occurred in March since 1984.[3]

Smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces has been illegal since 26 March 2006 in Scotland, 1 July 2007 in England, 30 April 2007 in Northern Ireland and 2 April 2007 in Wales.[4][5]

Starting with retailers larger than 280 square meteres in England on 6 April 2012 to smaller shops nationwide on 6 April 2015 the display of tobacco products was banned.[6]

In March 2011, the Coalition Government committed itself to holding a public consultation on the introduction of plain tobacco packaging. Influenced the introduction of plain packs in Australia the House of Commons voted 367-113 in March 2015 to pass the Children and Families Act 2014 which would give the government the power to require plain packaging for tobacco products.[7] This is due come into force in May 2016.[8]

On 2 April 2014 the Welsh Government published a public health white paper in which it proposed a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces.[9] The proposal was supported by the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford citing concerns that e-cigarettes could normalise smoking behaviour for young people and encourage them to take up smoking tobacco.[10][11]

Health issues[edit]

It has been estimated by Cancer Research UK that smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death with around 107,000 people dying in 2007 from smoking-related diseases including cancers in the UK. Around 86% of lung cancer deaths in the UK are caused by tobacco smoking and overall tobacco smoking is estimated to be responsible for more than a quarter of cancer deaths in the UK, around 43,000 deaths in 2007.[12]

The British Medical Journal states that due to the drive to help smokers quit smoking, Britain has the world's largest reduction in the number of deaths from lung cancer. Previously in 1950 the UK had one of the worst rates in the world. The annual number of deaths from lung cancer in 2000 was half of what it was in 1965.[13]

Tobacco smoking in the United Kingdom is prevalent among a sizeable minority of the population. Smoking is legally permitted, with certain conditions upon location arising from the bans enacted separately in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is generally recognised that smoking in the UK puts considerable strain upon the National Health Service (NHS) due to the health problems which can be directly linked with smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. Successive UK Governments have endeavoured to reduce the prevalence of smoking. As part of this commitment the NHS currently offers free help to smokers who want to stop smoking.

As recently as 1979, some 45% of the British population smoked, but this was down to 30% by the early 1990s, 21% by 2010, and 19.3% by 2013, the lowest level for 80 years.[14][15] An annual No Smoking Day has occurred in March since 1984.[16]

Smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces has been illegal since 26 March 2006 in Scotland, 1 July 2007 in England, 30 April 2007 in Northern Ireland and 2 April 2007 in Wales.[17][18] On 2 April 2014 the Welsh Government published a public health white paper in which it proposed a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces.[19] The proposal was supported by the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford citing concerns that e-cigarettes could normalise smoking behaviour for young people and encourage them to take up smoking tobacco.[20][21]

Health Issues[edit]

It has been estimated by Cancer Research UK that smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death with around 107,000 people dying in 2007 from smoking-related diseases including cancers in the UK. Around 86% of lung cancer deaths in the UK are caused by tobacco smoking and overall tobacco smoking is estimated to be responsible for more than a quarter of cancer deaths in the UK, around 43,000 deaths in 2007.[22]

The British Medical Journal states that due to the drive to help smokers quit smoking, Britain has the world's largest reduction in the number of deaths from lung cancer. Previously in 1950 the UK had one of the worst rates in the world. The annual number of deaths from lung cancer in 2000 was half of what it was in 1965.[23]

Age restrictions[edit]

 England and  Wales[edit]

Until 01. October 2007 the minimum age to purchase and consume tobacco products in public was 16 years of age. From 01. October 2007 the The Children and Young Persons (Sale of Tobacco etc.) Order 2007 got effective, raising the minimum purchase age to 18 years of age. The minimum age to consume tobacco products in any public place is, against the mistaken belief still 16 years of age.

Children and Young Persons Act 1933 - Section 7
(1) Any person who sells to a person under the age of eighteen years any tobacco or cigarette papers, whether for his own use or not, shall be liable, on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
(3) It shall be the duty of a constable and of a park-keeper being in uniform to seize any tobacco or cigarette papers in the possession of any person apparently under the age of sixteen years whom he finds smoking in any street or public place, and any tobacco or cigarette papers so seized shall be disposed of, if seized by a constable, in such manner as the police authority may direct, and if seized by a park-keeper, in such manner as the authority or person by whom he was appointed may direct.

—Children and Young Persons Act 1933, Section 7 - Sale of tobacco, &c. to persons under eighteen

 Scotland[edit]

Until 30. September 2007 the minimum age to purchase and consume tobacco products in public was 16 years of age. From 30. September 2007 the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 got effective, raising the minimum purchase, consumption and possession age to 18 years of age.

Section 4: Sale of tobacco products to persons under 18
(1) A person who sells a tobacco product or cigarette papers to a person under the age of 18 commits an offence.

Section 5: Purchase of tobacco products by persons under 18
(1) A person under the age of 18 who buys or attempts to buy a tobacco product or cigarette papers commits an offence.
Section 6: Purchase of tobacco products on behalf of persons under 18

(1) A person aged 18 or over who knowingly buys or attempts to buy a tobacco product or cigarette papers on behalf of a person under the age of 18 commits an offence.
—Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, Chapter 1 - Sale and purchase of tobacco products

Section 7: Confiscation of tobacco products from persons under 18

(1) Where a constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person in a public place—

(a) is under the age of 18, and
(b) is in possession of a tobacco product or cigarette papers,

the constable may require the person to surrender the tobacco product or, as the case may be, the cigarette papers to the constable.
(7) The constable may dispose of any tobacco product or cigarette papers surrendered to the constable in such manner as the constable considers appropriate. (8) In this section "public place" includes—

(a) any place to which the public have access for the time being (whether on payment of a fee or otherwise), and
(b) any place to which the public do not have access but to which the person mentioned in subsection (1) has unlawfully gained access.
—Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, Chapter 1 - Miscellaneous

 Northern Ireland[edit]

Until 31. August 2008 the minimum age to purchase and consume tobacco products in public was 16 years of age. From 1. September 2008 the Children and Young Persons (Sale of Tobacco etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 got effective, raising the minimum purchase, consumption and possession age to 18 years of age.

Section 3: Prohibition on sale of tobacco, etc. to persons apparently under 18
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a person who sells to a person under the age of 18 any tobacco or cigarette papers, whether for his own use or not, shall be guilty of an offence.

Section 5: Seizure of tobacco, etc. in possession of persons apparently under 18
(1) A member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary or Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve may seize any tobacco or cigarette papers in the possession of any person apparently under the age of 18 whom he finds smoking in any street or public place.

(2) Any tobacco or cigarette papers seized under paragraph (1) shall be disposed of in such a manner as the Police Authority for Northern Ireland may direct.
—Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, PART II - SALE OF TOBACCO, ETC. TO PERSONS APPARENTLY UNDER 18

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hope, Jenny (12 February 2014). "Fewer than one in five people are still smokers: Rates fall below 20% for the first time in 80 years". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ministers aim to halve number of people smoking by 2020". BBC News. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Stoddard, Katy (14 March 2012). "When No Smoking Day was still big news". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Scotland begins pub smoking ban". BBC News. 26 March 2006. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Roxby, Philippa (1 July 2012). "Smoking ban's impact five years on". BBC News. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Full implementation of display ban". 6 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Plain packaging law". Legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Guardian article on plain packaging vote". The Guardian. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Listening to you: Your health matters (Report). Welsh Government. 2 April 2014. p. 18. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "E-cigarettes face curb in public places in Wales". BBC News. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Electronic cigarettes may face public ban in Wales". The Guardian (London). Press Association. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Smoking". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Perry, Keith (3 August 2000). "Cancer warning halves deaths due to smoking". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Hope, Jenny (12 February 2014). "Fewer than one in five people are still smokers: Rates fall below 20% for the first time in 80 years". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Ministers aim to halve number of people smoking by 2020". BBC News. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  16. ^ Stoddard, Katy (14 March 2012). "When No Smoking Day was still big news". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  17. ^ "Scotland begins pub smoking ban". BBC News. 26 March 2006. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  18. ^ Roxby, Philippa (1 July 2012). "Smoking ban's impact five years on". BBC News. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  19. ^ Listening to you: Your health matters (Report). Welsh Government. 2 April 2014. p. 18. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "E-cigarettes face curb in public places in Wales". BBC News. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Electronic cigarettes may face public ban in Wales". The Guardian (London). Press Association. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Smoking". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  23. ^ Perry, Keith (3 August 2000). "Cancer warning halves deaths due to smoking". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 November 2011. 

See also[edit]