Tougher steps on sale of tobacco9th March 2011
New measures to further discourage smoking are set to see tobacco displays in shops banned in England.
The plan will see large shops forced to keep cigarettes under the counter from 2012 with the measures extended to smaller shops by 2015.
Other moves include a consultation process investigating whether tobacco manufacturers should sell cigarettes in plain packets.
At present, just over a fifth of adults smoke but the proposal, unveiled on national No Smoking Day, has set targets to cut smoking rates from 21.2% to 18.5% by the end of 2015.
There are also specific targets for pregnant women and teenagers.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “We want to do everything we can to help people to choose to stop smoking and encourage young people not to start smoking in the first place. We will help local communities to take a comprehensive approach to reducing smoking so we can change social attitudes to smoking.”
Figures who that in 1974, 45% of adults were smokers but in the years since this has fallen to below a quarter and in recent years has levelled off at around the 21% mark.
The anti-smoking campaign group Ash praised the government plans and the moves were welcomed by shadow public health minister Diane Abbott.
However, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents was less supportive and the Tobacco Retailers Alliance expressed is disappointment saying it felt that plain packaging of cigarettes would cause a problem with more counterfeiting and feared that banning displays would hit smaller retailers hard.
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