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Smoking display ban to hit shops

Shops will no longer be able to display tobacco products behind the counter in England under new measures aimed at reducing smoking rates in the country.

The new law forbid shopkeepers from displaying cigarettes and rolling tobacco in their stores, meaning they will need to keep them hidden under the counter. The legislation will come into effect in April 2012 for large stores and in April 2015 for all other shops.

The government is also set to consult later in the year over whether cigarette packaging should be plain as it is thought the use of logos could promote smoking.

But the law has been greeted with anger by many retailers who claim there is no evidence that removing displays would cut smoking statistics among young people.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, published Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England to coincide with national No Smoking Day.

He said smoking was one of the "biggest and most stubborn challenges" in public health.

He added: "Over eight million people in England still smoke and it causes more than 80,000 deaths each year.

"Smoking affects the health of smokers and their families. My ambition is to reduce smoking rates faster over the next five years than has been achieved in the past five years."

Ministers want to see a drop in the proportion of adults smoking to 18.5% or under by the end of 2015 (from 21.2% at present).

They also plan to cut smoking rates among 15-year-olds to 12% or under, from 15% at present, and smoking rates in pregnancy down from 14% to 11%.

Copyright © Press Association 2011


We asked if you agree with the ban. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I'm not entirely sure it will deter smoking! I would say increase NI contributions for smokers but this won't work as a high proportion of smokers don't work, will never work and believe smoking is one of life's pleasures!" - Janet Patterson, Newcastle

"Yes I do agree. It has been too long in coming! Why should the NHS continue to care for people who develop smoking related illnesses when they continue to smoke regardless of their concern not only for their own health but others as well" - Celia Moore, Birmingham

"Yes of course. Any deterrent negative to health should be. Out of sight out of mind. Adults still have a choice, children need protecting and reducing advertising is one way of accomplishing this" - P Doljanin, Cheam

"Yes I do, perhaps if people were ordered to pay for their care following a smoking-related illness the smoking rates would fall to way below the intended!" - Sandy Lea, Macclesfield

"No, I do not agree with the ban!! Ridiculous, convoluted tactic that accomplishes nothing but to satisfy a group of puffed up, self-absorbed moralists who insist on controlling other peoples choices in life!! Just another example of the overwhelming, growing nanny state of the 20th and 21st centuries!!" - MA Ryemead, West Yorkshire