Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..

March 3, 2009 - Northern Ireland Assembly (the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland Assembly) has approved a ban on the display of tobacco items in shops in Northern Ireland. Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said he planned to bring the ban, which he hoped would save lives, into force late next year.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politicians argued that it should be delayed until 2013 in order to give retailers the time to fund changes to their premises.

Mr. McGimpsey argued that Members of the Legislative Assembly should not put "wealth before health". "Currently in Northern Ireland about 9% of 11 to 16-year-olds regularly smoke. The evidence is strong that if you begin smoking in your teenage years, you're three times more likely to take cancer than if you begin smoking in your 20s. This is very much about protecting our young people."

Chief executive of the HPA Dr Brian Gaffney said they were focusing on the financial cost of smoking. This agency has said stopping a 20-a-day cigarette habit could save smokers up to £170 ($240USD) a month. The message comes ahead of No Smoking Day on Wednesday week.

Besides Northern Ireland the other countries of the United Kingdom are also planning on banning the display of tobacco items. Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..; England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops... Alan Johnson, United Kingdom's (Britain) Secretary of State for Health - UK - Strategies to be implemented to prevent underage tobacco use... (

A similar ban is to be implemented in the Irish Republic in July 2009..

Reference: Cigarette display ban is approved, BBC News Channel, 3/3/2009.

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