Northern Ireland to Ban Tobacco Displays

BELFAST, Northern Ireland – The Department of Health is proposing to ban tobacco displays in retail locations in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph reports. The prohibition would take effect July 1, 2011.

Merchants responded to the news by saying the ban would likely increase the tobacco black market as smokers would seek to buy their cigarettes elsewhere.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey pointed to the fact that more than three-quarters of Northern Ireland smoking adults began to smoke while teenagers. “This is exactly what I want to prevent through these new measures,” he said.

“Children are particularly susceptible to tobacco marketing and are more likely to take up smoking as a result of exposure to it,” said McGimpsey. “By introducing measures banning cigarette displays in shops, we are protecting our children and young people, and we are also supporting those smokers in our society who are attempting to quit.”

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politicians want the ban to take effect in 2013 to provide merchants with time to change. The Assembly passed the display ban.

A Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance survey found that 75 percent of merchants knew about contraband tobacco sales nearby and half said they knew of those who sold to minors.


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