Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has highlighted a Crosby off licence manager for leading the way in discouraging young people from smoking.
Earlier this week the Government launched its Tobacco Control Plan for England which included a ban on retail tobacco displays. The legislation will put tobacco out of sight in shops in England and reduce children’s unnecessary exposure to tobacco industry marketing.
But Len Hartley, who has managed T.C. Wine Shop on Bridge Road for 25 years, has already taken the decision not to display cigarettes because he believes it encourages young people to take up the habit.
Len told Bill Esterson: “Having cigarettes in full view in the shop definitely encouraged more kids to try and buy them. Because of this I decided to only stock a small supply below the counter; out of view.
"I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I don’t want to play any part in helping the tobacco industry attract new smokers.”
Bill congratulated Len on leading the way on the issue.
Bill said: “What Len has been doing for 20 years is what all responsible retailers should have been doing. I’m pleased that by April 2015 they will all be doing it. Credit to Len for showing the way.”
The smoking rate among young people in the North West is higher than the national average, with 22% of 14-17 year olds smoking. The vast majority start before the age of 19; two thirds before the legal age of sale (18 years).
Jo McCullagh, tobacco control lead for local heart health charity Heart of Mersey said: “Tobacco displays in shops are a form of advertising and encourage young people to start smoking. These displays also normalise tobacco use for young people, making it seem more socially acceptable. We think it’s great that Len has taken this action and we’d like to encourage more retailers in our area follow Len’s example.”