Date Published: 4 May 2009

Young people want tobacco put out of sight in shops

Cancer Research UK

Young people overwhelmingly support putting tobacco products out of sight in shops according to new research released today (Monday) by Cancer Research UK.

Almost two thirds (64%) of 11 to 16 year olds want cigarettes put out of sight in shops. Only 16% do not agree with the proposal. Researchers interviewed more than 1,400 youngsters from across the UK.

The results show the strength of support for new tobacco control legislation being discussed in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

One of the key new measures in the proposals is to remove all tobacco products from sight in shops. Researchers say there is good evidence that this will help to reduce the number of young people who start smoking by protecting them from tobacco marketing.

Almost three quarters (72%) of those who had never smoked agreed that cigarettes should be put out of sight. Occasional and regular smokers and those who used to smoke or have tried smoking were less likely to agree.

More than half (55%) of those who smoked occasionally, had smoked in the past or had tried smoking, agreed that cigarettes should be put out of sight. Nearly 30% of regular smokers also agreed. Girls were more likely than boys to support putting cigarettes out of sight - 67% of girls compared with 61% of boys.

Professor Gerard Hastings, lead researcher based at the University of Stirling, said:

"Children see through the hypocrisy of the adult world which tells them not to smoke, but at the same time, allows tantalising displays of tobacco products in shops up and down the land.

They also recognise the simple truth that children have a right to be protected from such dangerous blandishments. Policy makers must listen to them and ensure that tobacco is put out of sight as soon as possible."

Younger children were also more likely to agree (77% of 11 year olds) than older children (51% of 16 year olds) that cigarettes should be put out of sight.

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said:

"Tobacco advertising has been banned on television, in print and on billboards. Yet children are still regularly exposed to branding on packs and attractive tobacco displays in shops.

Tobacco marketing deliberately tries to build a relationship with potential new young smokers. Over 80% of smokers start before the age of 19 and half of all long-term smokers will die from cancer or other smoking-related diseases - that’s why we want to make smoking history for our children. With so much support from young people we urge Parliament to listen and put tobacco out of sight."


Source: Cancer Research UK.

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