Wales set to ban the display of tobacco products..

April 14, 2010 - Welsh Assembly Government has announced new measures to protect children and young people from the harm caused by smoking. The proposals include a ban on the display of tobacco products in shops and to ban the sale of tobacco products through vending machines.

Subject to the outcome of a three-month consultation, which ends on 6 July 2010, the Assembly Government aims to introduce the regulations in line with other UK countries. It is expected that the ban on vending machines will come into force in October 2011, along with the display requirements for small stores such as corner shops. For larger businesses, as defined in the regulations, the regulations are expected to take effect from October 2013.

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Under the proposed regulations, specialist tobacconists will still be able to display tobacco products within their shop, provided that displays cannot be seen from outside the shop . Restrictions will also be placed on the size of price lists for tobacco products in shops.

The move aims to protect children and young people from the dangers of smoking, as research shows that the display of tobacco products can encourage young people to try smoking.

Within the regulations, provisions have been made to ensure that shops and other businesses can continue to serve their customers. These provisions include allowing shopkeepers to still be able to serve their customers and restock their shelves without breaking the new law, as well as using price lists so they can trade efficiently, but not so that they become advertisements.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “The Welsh Assembly Government’s aim is to protect children and young people from the very serious risks of smoking, while ensuring that the regulations are workable and cost-effective in practice. “We believe that the proposed regulations strike the right balance, but it is important that we hear views on their practical implications for those most affected by them.”

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr. Tony Jewell added: “Two thirds of adults who have ever smoked say that they started before they were 18 and the majority of under age smokers get their cigarettes from self service tobacco vending machines. “Removing tobacco products from public display and banning cigarette vending machines will reinforce the vitally important public health message that smoking is harmful and addictive and reduce the opportunity for young people to access these products.”

Reference: Wales to ban display of tobacco, News Wales, 4/13/2010.