Mad Men
TV series Mad Men, renowned for the characters’ prolific smoking

Measures including ensuring plain packaging is implemented and removal of smoking in TV and films seen by children and teenagers should now be enforced to eradicate harm from smoking, according to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

RCP president Sir Richard Thompson said he hopes in another 50 years that “smoking, like slavery, will have passed into history.”

The intervention, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of its first warning that smoking caused serious harm to health, comes as large retailers enter the final month before the government’s ban on tobacco displays.

Retail body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has hit out at “conflicting and expensive legislation” hitting their members, with the display ban coming ahead of the expected introduction of plain packaging.

It says retailers have been forced to spend a “pointless” £15.6m installing new units to comply with the display ban.

“Implementing the tobacco display ban is inconsistent, irrational and fails the government’s own better regulation principles,” says BRC food director Andrew Opie.

“It’s crazy to have forced large retailers to spend millions installing new shelves, introducing new signage and re-training staff while the same department is still considering new rules on packaging,” he adds.