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Tobacco display ban in small stores begins

Ban will deter children from starting to smoke, say experts

Adrian O'Dowd

Wednesday, 08 April 2015

A ban on the display of tobacco products in small shops at the point of sale has come into force this week across the UK.

This means that retailers will no longer be able to display cigarette packs for sale and in most cases, packs will be kept behind sliding doors and only be in view when staff are serving customers.

The ban applies to small shops and any other premises selling tobacco, such as newsagents, convenience stores, petrol stations, pubs and clubs, and brings those premises into line with a similar ban in supermarkets and large stores (those with a floor area greater than 280 square metres) that has been in place since 2012.

Campaigning group ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) said the ban would help to protect young people from the promotion of tobacco.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at ASH, said: “Two thirds of smokers start before the age of 18 so it is vital that everything is done to put tobacco out of sight to protect future generations.

“The display ban in small shops will work hand in hand with standardised packs, which will be introduced in May 2016, to further protect children from glitzy tobacco packaging.”

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) also welcomed the new rules and its chief executive Simon Gillespie said: “By taking cigarettes off the display shelves, we’re cutting off one of the last avenues that tobacco companies have to entice young people to smoke.

“Tobacco products kill around half of users, so we have a responsibility to help deter more people from starting smoking and reduce the number of deaths.

“Most regular smokers start before they are 18, but this law will help discourage children from buying packs and starting this deadly habit. This is a victory for campaigners for better health and takes us another step closer to ‘de-normalising’ smoking.”

Currently, there are almost 10 million adult smokers in the UK and smoking causes around 100,000 deaths every year.

The Department of Health has produced guidance on implementation of the new rules.

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