UK to ban attractive shop tobacco display, wrapping

09:59, March 11, 2011      

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Cigarette displays in shops will be banned and tobacco companies may also be forced to make their products in plain wrappers in an attempt to stop people from smoking, announced the UK government Thursday.

The prominent displays and attractive packaging of tobacco have long provided shopkeepers with stable income, keeping addicts hooked and quitters tempted.

However, the government's move that will begin as early as spring next year will keep cigarettes hidden away and make it just a tad more difficult for smokers to find their fix.

"Nearly all adult smokers started smoking before they turned 18 and every year, over 300,000 children under 16 try smoking," said Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies.

"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," Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said in his statement on the new law.

Now, this move has drawn predictable responses from both sides of the tobacco wars, with health groups cheering and retailers grumbling.

The British Medical Association said it was "very pleased" with the announcement, citing research which it said showed that a display ban would play "a key role in discouraging children from smoking and also help smokers quit."

On the other hand, industry groups and independent retailers complained it would burden them with the cost of refitting their stores and reduce their already narrow profit margins.

And according to media interviews, many people kept skeptical about the real impact the move would have, especially on young smokers.

Source: Xinhua
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