The use of tobacco products continues to be a worldwide issue. In the U.K. the phase shift has begun with Scotland. Major steps have been taken here to limit the use, and dampen any future use of tobacco products.
The Steps Taken Thus Far
Scotland is blazing the trail towards a tobacco free society. In fact Scotland was the first member of the U.K. to implement a public smoking ban in 2006. Since that time the country has further restricted the tobacco industry and the way tobacco is marketed to the public.
A recent restriction that has been seen is the standardization of cigarette packaging. As explained by Dr. Harpal Kumar, the U.K.’s Cancer Research chief executive, Scotland would replace, “…glitzy, brightly colored packs that appeal to children with standard packs displaying prominent health warnings…” These health warnings and simple packages discourage the purchase of cigarettes, however, it is unclear whether these rules will also apply to related products such as chewing tobacco and the electronic cigarette.
In addition to standardized packaging, more legislation has been passed to further inhibit tobacco distribution. The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Act of 2010 banned the sale of cigarettes in vending machines throughout Scotland. This act however, received much resistance from the Imperial Tobacco manufacturer, which caused its implementation to be delayed. Never the less the act was passed and made effective immediately for large retailers, yet allowing smaller retailers to comply by 2015 without penalty.
Although these past action have proven effective in reducing smoking, Scotland has taken this battle a step further. This year the country has put into effect a ban on any display of cigarettes in public retailing stores in hopes of further reducing the country’s smoking rate. The goal: a smoke free Scotland by 2034. Many retailers are up in arms stating that the display of cigarettes does not influence the purchasing decisions of individuals. Regardless of the outcries the Scottish government is determined to enact every policy possible to realize a smoke free society. In fact, the Scottish government has announced plans to ban smoking on hospital grounds by 2015.
The Reasoning Behind the Ban
In Scotland, over 13,000 deaths and 56,000 hospital admissions are seen each year due to smoking. Smoking is the most prevalent cause of preventable death in this country and in many other countries as well. These numbers have caught the eye of the Scottish government and have spurred them to action.
The governments main reasoning behind these bans is the hope of reducing the amount of youths that smoke. National educational marketing programs are being financed to enable youths to see the dangers of smoking. By influencing the younger generations, the Scottish government hopes to see an increase in the health of the overall population in the coming years.
Scotland, however, is not the only country to set their sights on these proactive goals. New Zealand hopes to be tobacco free by 2025 and Finland plans to follow suit by 2040.
These are progressive times, and all across the world actions are being taken to decrease smoking rates in hopes of creating better habits and healthier populations. Scotland is on track to meet their lofty goal, however, we will have to wait and see if they can accomplish what they have set out to do.