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Press Releases (216)

Fresh has welcomed the effect of tobacco laws which carried widespread public support - but has urged the government to go further in its drive to go 'smoke-free' in England by 2030.



Responding to a government consultation on a review of particular regulations, Fresh has outlined to the Department of Health and Social Care that current laws around tobacco such as smoking in cars carrying children and putting tobacco displays out of sight have helped smoking rates in the North East and youth smoking rates reach an all-time low.


The removal of tobacco displays in shops, prohibiting smoking in cars carrying children and restrictions on the sale of nicotine-inhaling products such as vapourisers to under 18s all work together to help smokers to quit, discourage young people from starting to smoke and protect people from harm.


The laws play a key role in the North East vision of making smoking history, alongside other actions such as quitting campaigns and providing support to smokers who want to quit.


Retailers within County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear have also outlined their support for the laws with over half (55%) supporting the regulations on the removal of tobacco displays and 9 out of 10 supporting laws restricting the sale of nicotine-inhaling products to children.


But Fresh say that more action is needed if the government is to achieve its ambition to go 'smoke-free' in England in 2030 and that nearly half of the North East public think the government could be doing more to limit smoking with only 7 per cent thinking the government has gone too far.


Fresh outlined key measures the government could bring in to accelerate the decline in smoking rates such as introducing a "polluter pays" charge on the tobacco industry to fund measures to encourage smokers to quit and discourage youth uptake, increasing the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 and introduce retail licensing to support enforcement.


Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh, said: "We know from talking to smokers that thanks to the law, the car is now seen by most as the last place they would dream of smoking and there is high awareness that it is illegal.


"Similarly with tobacco displays, shops have adapted and our children no longer see cigarettes and people who have quit no longer face the temptation when they walk into a shop."


She added: "Here in England we have some of the most effective tobacco laws in the world – they are simple to implement, comply with and enforce and most importantly of all, they work.  The fact that smoking rates are continuing to decline is testament to this.  But we can't be complacent.


"To continue making a difference, the government also needs to consider going further and bring in new legislation, including 'making the polluter pay' by placing a charge on the tobacco industry to address the damage that their products inflict on society.  We would also like the age of sale for tobacco to be raised to 21 given how harmful tobacco is, and for a licensing system to be introduced to support enforcement around illicit tobacco.


"There is significant public support for all of these measures and the government needs to be both bold but also reassured that these are the next logical steps to take."


North East retailer John McClurey said: "The introduction of these laws has been generally viewed as a positive step towards the reduction of smoking.  Since the tobacco displays have been covered I have had former smokers commenting to me that it removes a temptation and helps them to stay quit.





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84,000 North East smokers quit since COVID - a higher rate than anywhere
Wednesday, 15 July 2020
NEW FIGURES out today suggest 84,000 people in the North East have stopped smoking since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country – the highest rate in the UK. The analysis by ASH and UCL finds that over a million people in the UK have stopped smoking since the COVID-19 pandemic…
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Half century decline in smoking
Wednesday, 08 July 2020
ONLY around one in 7 people in the North East now smoke, according to new figures out this week. As smoking continues to fall, 15.3% of adults in the North East are now smokers – around 325,000 people – according to the study by the Office for National Statistics. It…
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"Dont wait to quit" plea to over 50s
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
A NORTH East doctor appearing in a major quit smoking campaign has appealed to over 50s not to wait to quit smoking after new figures highlight age differences in quitting. Dr Ruth Sharrock reacted to new figures which show smokers under 30 are more than twice as likely to have…
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Don't wait to quit smoking
Tuesday, 16 June 2020
A NORTH East respiratory doctor is making a powerful plea for smokers to quit for COVID and other vital health reasons in a major new campaign launching this week on TV, radio, digital and social media. Dr Ruth Sharrock's "don't wait" appeal is a reminder of the many reasons to…
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World No Tobacco Day
Friday, 29 May 2020
NEW figures released for World No Tobacco Day (May 31) show 15 North East children start smoking every day – around the same number of people in the region who die each day from tobacco.[i] The grim statistics, from Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research UK, reveal that…
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15 NE kids a day start smoking
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
FRESH and former smoker and cancer survivor Sue Mountain have welcomed the ban on child-friendly menthol cigarettes from 20th May. It comes as new figures show over 5,400 children in the North East, or 15 a day, start smoking.   Menthol is often a "starter product" for children as the…
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Smokers encouraged to quit as menthol removed from sale
Friday, 15 May 2020
NEW rules removing menthol cigarettes from shop shelves could be the trigger which stops more children starting and encourages more North East smokers to quit. The new rules, which start on Wednesday 20th May, mean that cigarettes flavoured with menthol can no longer be sold. The move was announced four…
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Protect families from secondhand smoke after increases during lockdown
Thursday, 14 May 2020
Health campaigners are warning that new evidence suggests lockdown has left more children exposed to the harms of secondhand smoke. The warning comes today from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), British Lung Foundation, Fresh and Breath 2025 [1] as evidence from the YouGov COVID tracker [2] shows that people…
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Smokers are quitting for COVID
Friday, 01 May 2020
At least 300,000 people have quit smoking successfully, a further 550,000 have tried to quit and 2.4 million have cut down on the amount of cigarettes they smoke due to growing concerns around coronavirus (COVID-19) and the increased risk that smokers face. The estimates are based on findings from the…
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PHE - smokers at greater risk from coronavirus
Friday, 03 April 2020
Fresh has today welcomed calls from Public Health England for smokers to quit smoking to reduce the risks from coronavirus (COVID-19). It comes as Public Health England today issued a statement that smokers are at greater risk of severe respiratory disease from COVID-19, and emerging evidence from China shows smokers…
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