Sefton Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) have responded and supported the Department of Health’s consultation on the introduction of standardised packaging on tobacco products.
The Board, chaired by Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools, Families and Leisure, is made up of council directors, CCG board members, NHS England and Sefton Health Watch.
They are responding to the draft regulations on standardised tobacco packaging which were published for consultation in June.
The board members are keen to see standardised packaging introduced in the UK as they believe it will lead to a reduction in the numbers of young people starting to smoke and combined with other policy initiatives, will contribute significantly to a reduction of smoking rates in Sefton.
Evidence to support standardised packaging comes from Australia where it was introduced in 2012. Official data from there shows a 3.4% fall in tobacco sales in the first year of its introduction. If mirrored in Sefton, Public Health England (PHE) predicts yearly total savings across the borough of £3.2 million.
Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Moncur, said: “Sefton welcomes the introduction of standardised packaging. Tobacco has a significant impact on health with the greatest harm being suffered by the most disadvantaged; therefore the benefits would be most felt in areas of greater social deprivation.
“The introduction of standardised packaging results in tobacco sales falling which will reduce the devastating harm caused by smoking and boost health improvement. The most important thing to most Sefton families, by introducing it, is they will see an increase in their disposable income, money that could be spent on other things boosting the local economy.”
Retailers are not expected to be greatly effected from the introduction of standardised packaging as they earn relatively little profit from tobaccos sales.
Only about 7-9% of the cost of tobacco is retained by the retailer compared to 20-30% for food and drink products. Money saved by residents not smoking is likely to be spent elsewhere locally and benefit local businesses more.
Dr Janet Atherton, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “We welcome the introduction of standardised packaging because we know from Australia’s evidence that fewer children in Sefton will start smoking and it will help smokers quit.
“We continue to offer advice and help to residents who want to stop smoking, through SUPPORT, the local stop smoking service. If you are thinking about quitting, why not call them today on 0300 100 1000 because you are four times more likely to quit with their help.”
In June 2014, the Department of Health published draft regulations for consultation for proposed requirements for the packaging of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco.
The regulations include proposed policies on the colour of the packet, allowed text and typeface and requirements for the appearance of individual cigarettes. The consultation closed on August, 7. Powers to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products already exist in legislation.
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