UK to ban display of cigarettes in shops

 The Department of Health, announcing the legislation on national No Smoking Day, said the new rules would be phased in to give retailers time to adjust. Cigarettes and other tobacco products must be kept out of sight in large stores and supermarkets by 2012 and in small shops by 2015, ministers said.

Only temporary displays in “certain limited circumstances” will be allowed as the changes take effect, the Department of Health said.

“Smoking is undeniably one of the biggest and most stubborn challenges in public health.

“Over eight million people in England still smoke and it causes more than 80,000 deaths each year,” said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in a statement.

The rules were part of a strategy to stamp out smoking by stopping the promotion of tobacco by making it less affordable and helping users to quit, he said. Urging young people not to take up smoking in the first place was a key priority.

Just over 20 per cent of adults smoke in England and the government wants to reduce that to 18.5 per cent by 2015.

The government said it would keep an open mind on whether manufacturers should be forced to put cigarettes in plain packaging and is planning a consultation on different options before the end of this year.

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