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Home Industry News Tobacco forced under the counter

Tobacco forced under the counter

9th December 2008

The government has banned the open display of tobacco products in England and Wales.

Health secretary Alan Johnson issued a written ministerial statement this morning banning the open display of cigarettes in shops.

It is the latest in a series of moves by the government to cut the number of children taking up smoking. It has previously raised the minimum purchasing age from 16 to 18.

Today’s package did not ban tobacco vending machines or branding on cigarette packs, however, prompting criticism from anti-smoking campaigners.

“Enticing multi-coloured displays encourage young people to start smoking – we must put a stop to this,” Mr Johnson said.

“Protecting children from smoking is our goal. My hope is that shops will use this opportunity to promote healthier goods.”

Around 87,000 people die in England every year as a result of smoking-related deaths.

The government points to evidence from other countries showing under-the-counter sales have a positive impact on smoking numbers.

In Canada, removing point-of-sale displays coincided with a drop in smoking prevalence rates from 29 per cent in 2002 to 19 per cent in 2007.

The absence of today’s announcement from the Queen’s Speech had sparked speculation ministers had decided to abandon the measure.

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