New stricter regulations on tobacco products will be introduced in the UK from next month in a bid to decrease the number of smokers — and they’re dividing opinion in Lincoln already.
Some smokers say that they do not think the laws will have an effect on them, whereas some think that vaping will be the only way to go.
Lincolnshire Trading Standards have been involved in several cases recently regarding the sale of illicit tobacco products and believe the new laws on plain tobacco packaging will make it harder for products to be faked.
For some time now, all legal tobacco products have been required to feature three things: pictorial health warnings, English health warnings and “UK Duty Paid”.
Starting May 20, 2017, the new laws will be added:
- No more packs of 10 cigarettes will be sold
- No more packs of rolling tobacco weighing less than 30g will be sold
- The cheapest pack of cigarettes will cost £8.82
- Menthol cigarettes will be ‘phased out’ for 2020
- Flavoured tobacco will be illegal
- Tobacco packaging will all be plain and display graphic photos of possible health implications from smoking
What did the people of Lincoln have to say?
Chris Tuck, 22, has been smoking since he was 15. He said: “I can see where they’re coming from with these new laws because younger people certainly will not be able to smoke quite as easily with the higher number of minimum cigarettes that can be bought.
“But at the same time, I don’t see it making much of a difference. I will continue to smoke and I think anyone who would start smoking will be just as likely to smoke even after these laws are passed.”
Dave M, 39, also agreed. He said: “I smoke daily but I also get all my cigarettes from abroad. I wait for friends who come into the UK to get new cigarettes, so the laws don’t really affect me.
“Also, more people vape these days than ever before, so I don’t see the new laws affecting the number of new smokers.”
Joel North, a sales assistant at eCigaretteOutlet in Lincoln added: “It is still too early to say if the vaping business will get better as it all depends on the public opinion.
“I know of many people who used to smoke who now only vape. I myself used to smoke 30 cigarettes a day. People like vaping because of how customisable and fun it can be. It has become more of a ‘trend’ than a health choice, but I hope it will become less trendy and more practical.
“I don’t think the new laws will make smokers stop smoking, it will just make them moan a bit more.”
‘Fag house’ investigations
Illicit tobacco may seem like a cheap alternative, but selling it is illegal.
Residential properties selling illicit tobacco, also known as ‘Fag houses’, have been targeted in Lincolnshire Trading standards partnership operations.
One such investigation lead to a Mablethorpe seller being sentenced to six months imprisonment for supplying illicit tobacco as well as court costs over £3,500.
Over 20,000 cigarettes were found in possession of the seller.
The tobacco that was seized in Trading Standards’ operations are sample tested and consistently fail legal performance standards and have higher level of toxic ingredients such as Cadmium (linked to bone softening and kidney disease) compared to ‘genuine’ tobacco and have been found to contain ‘mould’, ‘unidentified vegetable matter’, ‘animal hair’ and even carcinogenic metals.
The amounts of these toxins were found to be significantly higher than ‘legal’ cigarettes and mercury was found to be up to 10 times higher.
Looking to quit?
If you are a smoker looking to quit, Quit 51 is the Stop Smoking Service for Lincolnshire. Call free on 0800 622 6968 to speak to an advisor, or alternatively, text ‘smokefree’ to 66777. You are up to four times more likely to quit with the help of support.