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  1. ITV Report

Guernsey could take the lead on new anti-smoking laws

People in Guernsey are being told they could be "the vanguard of Europe" when it comes to anti-smoking laws.

Last week the government backed plans to investigate the introduction of plain packaging of cigarettes, though a call to impose smoke-free zones in parts of the island were thrown out.

Now, UK-based anti-smoking campaign group ASH is urging States Members and islanders to keep up the momentum, to reduce the number of people smoking, and cut smoking-related illness.

It's fantastic that Guernsey has this tradition of bringing in tobacco policies, often ahead of the UK and other parts of Europe as well. The smoking ban being one of those examples. The island has really taken this as an area that's something they want to take leadership on.

– Hazel Cheeseman, ASH

In 2006 when Guernsey became the first place in the British Isles to introduce a smoking ban in enclosed public spaces, the UK only followed suit a year later.

Guernsey also outlawed smoking in prisons at the start of 2013 and this year the island, again ahead of the UK, backed moves to introduce plain packaging of cigarettes. But those in the tobacco industry say that idea's flawed.

Taking off the logos and trademarks, you make it much easier for people to fake packs for smugglers to bring them into Guernsey. It makes it much harder for Customs officers to spot which ones are the fake ones and which ones aren't.

– James Filleul, CI Tobacco Retailers Association

But anti-smoking campaigners say criticisms of standardised packaging is just a distraction.

On standardised packaging, Guernsey are going to be part of the vanguard of European nations that are looking to introduce standardised packaging and I can only hope that the rest of Europe looks to what Guernsey's doing and thinks if Guernsey can do it then absolutely we can.

– Hazel Cheeseman, ASH