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Tobacco control

Creating smokefree environments

Most smokers start the habit before they are 18 years old. Children are particularly susceptible to the health impacts of second-hand smoke as they have smaller airways and breathe faster, and their immune systems are still developing. Children who live with smokers are up to three times more likely to become smokers themselves as compared to those living with non-smokers.

From 1 October 2015, it became illegal to smoke in a car when it is carrying anyone under the age of 18. This legislation was brought in to protect children and young people from exposure second-hand smoke. Children are most vulnerable to the effects of tobacco smoke and the least able to avoid it in enclosed places. 

Following the smokefree legislation in 2007 banning smoking in enclosed public places, many people made their homes smoke-free. This led to a significant reduction in hospital admissions for under-fives for breathing problems linked to inhaling smoke. 

If everyone were to stop smoking in their homes and cars when children are present, the health improvements would be significant.

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Smoking in and around family-friendly areas sends children a message that smoking is a normal behaviour and a usual part of life, rather than a deadly, addictive drug. 

Also, cigarette butts can take up to 12 years to biodegrade, posing a danger to animals and young children who may accidentally ingest them.

We believe that children and young people have a right to play, meet their friends and take part in activities in a clean, smokefree environment. We encourage parents and visitors to the voluntarily avoid smoking around children’s play areas. Members of the public play a key role to enforce this ban, which is hoped to bring about a change of attitudes towards smoking around young people.

This campaign is part of our wider Smokefree Zone' initiative to denormalise the act of smoking.

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Around 27.8% of the smoking population in Wiltshire comes from the routine and manual working groups, and the smoking prevalence in this group is higher than the national average. Employers can take several steps to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use and smoking-related cost occurring from sickness absence and decreased productivity. 

Wiltshire public health team offers support to businesses to create a smokefree culture at workplaces and develop enhanced smoking cessation support for their employees that link with employee health and wellbeing programs and recognition awards, such as Investors in People. Businesses can contact the public health team at wiltsstopsmoking@nhs.net or call on 0300 003 4562 for more information.

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Enforcement and legislation

The illicit tobacco market is in long-term decline but remains a problem in some communities. It undermines tobacco-control measures, including taxation and age of sale regulations, enabling children to start a lethal addiction and encouraging smokers to smoke more than if they were paying full price. Criminal activity in the illicit trade tends to target smokers in deprived areas, increasing health inequalities further.

In Wiltshire, effective approaches are coordinated across the county by public health team and enforcement partners to collaboratively reduce the demand for and the supply of illicit tobacco. Evidence-based social marketing and public relations campaigns, such as the Illegal Tobacco Campaign, have managed to raise awareness of the issue and also helped us develop the needed intelligence to tackle the issue of illicit tobacco.

Standardised packaging

In May 2016, the UK became the second country in the world to implement standardised packaging for tobacco products. On the same day the revised Tobacco Products Directive, which included a number of revisions to tobacco packaging, was implemented. 

  • Larger health warnings on 65% of the front and back
  • Graphic picture at the top of the pack
  • Brand name in standard font
  • Minimum size of 20 cigarettes
  • No more lipstick or perfume packs
  • Top opening only – No more side opening packs
  • Packs are drab brown – not white
  • No more glamorous and flashy packaging
  • No more misleading information like low tar or organic
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The new regulations came into effect on 20 May 2016. There is a one-year transitional period to allow for the sale of old stock. This means all tobacco products on sale in the UK must comply with the regulations by May 2017.

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Smoking is an addiction of childhood: Two thirds of smokers start before they are 18 and the vast majority while still teenagers (ONS, 2012). Hundreds of children in the UK start smoking every day. There is good evidence that standard packs are less attractive, particularly to young people. As well as being less attractive, peer reviewed research shows that standard packs make health warnings more effective and reduce the ability of the packaging to mislead consumers around the harms of smoking.

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Local trading standards officers are responsible for ensuring that manufacturers and retailers comply with the law. 

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Yes.

  • If found guilty by a magistrate's court, a person could face a prison sentence of up to three months, or a fine or both. 
  • If found guilty by a crown court, a person could face a prison sentence of up to two years, or a fine or both.

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More than 23,000 young people in England and Wales start smoking before they are 15 due to exposure to smoking in the home.

Last updated: 3 November 2016 | Last reviewed: 3 November 2016