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Royal Assent for Act that protects kids from tobacco use

New law means shops can no longer display tobacco products

OnMedica Staff

Friday, 13 November 2009

A new law to protect children from the harms of tobacco has received Royal Assent.

Provisions in the new Health Act 2009 mean that shops will no longer be allowed to display tobacco products, and enable the prohibition of sales of tobacco from vending machines. 

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “The new laws passed...will help to prevent ill health caused by tobacco, give patients more choice and greater control over the care they receive and drive up the quality of care - helping the NHS go from good to great.”

As well as strengthen the tobacco laws, the Act also places a legal duty on the NHS and its providers to have regard to the NHS Constitution, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff.

"Ara Darzi’s Next Stage Review set a clear vision for the NHS. The Health Act 2009 puts this into practice and strengthens the NHS, taking forward the vital reforms of the last few years," said Mr Burnham.

The Act will enable the piloting of direct payments for healthcare, a move that has caused some concern.

Dr Mark Porter, Chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said pilots should not be taken forward before an evidence base is established.

Also contained in The Act are measures to extend the adult social care complaints procedure and a framework to allow HMRC to continue to share summarised and anonymised information on GP and dentist pay with the Department of Health.

The Health Act 2009 will come into effect over the next few months.

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