From Monday 1st October the tobacco age of sale will increase from 16 to 18. This is the latest government attempt to cut smoking rates in the UK, and prevent young people buying cigarettes.
The move follows the ban on smoking in public places on 1st July 2007, and the recent announcement by the secretary of state that cigarette packets will carry picture health warnings from next year.
An outdoor advertising campaign to explain the the change in the law was launched on Monday 24th September, as part of an awareness campaign over the past four months to ensure that both retailers and teenagers are fully aware of the law change.
Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: “We are determined to reduce the number of young people who smoke. Raising the legal age of sale to 18 will make it easier for retailers to spot under-age smokers and lead to less young people becoming addicted to nicotine and continuing to smoke into adulthood.
“Research shows that the younger people start the more likely they are to become life-long smokers and die early. This change in law highlights our commitment to protect our children and will potentially save thousands of lives and others will be spared the misery of watching family and friends die prematurely from smoke related illnesses.”