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Tobacco displays 'attract children'

Young people feel more like smoking if they see cigarettes on sale in shops, research has shown, as the Government looks set to overturn a ban on displaying tobacco.

Point-of-sale tobacco displays in shops are "cool, fun, and attractive" and are likely to encourage smoking, said children questioned in a study.

It comes as the Government considers whether to reverse a ban on cigarette vending machines and on shops showing rows of cigarettes and tobacco.

A law was passed by MPs in October when Labour was in power but the regulations needed to implement the changes have not come into force.

The 2009 Health Act would ban cigarette vending machines and put tobacco out of sight in all shops by the end of 2013.

Health campaigners called on the Government not to scrap the law, saying children's health must come before the needs of retailers.

Newsagents have said the proposal could cost them £250 million to implement while Conservative MPs have questioned stopping shops displaying tobacco during a recession, when business is slower.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "We urge the Government to confirm their commitment to protect our children, now and in the future, from tobacco.

"The influence of tobacco marketing must be removed from lives of young people.

"The legislation is in place - all that remains is for it to be implemented. Business profits are no reason to allow the easy access of vending machines and colourful wall displays of cigarettes to remain. The health of children must come first."


From Belfast Telegraph