Editor's Viewpoint: Stubbing it out
Health Minister Edwin Poots is spearheading a determined fight against nicotine. Now he is to ban vending machines which dispense tobacco products.
The new legislation, which will make it more difficult for some young people to buy cigarettes, and possibly stop them developing the habit, will come into force at the beginning of March.
Stopping the number of people smoking by whatever means is a very worthwhile exercise. It will cut mortality rates and decrease treatment costs in hospitals. But as the clampdown on legitimate outlets for tobacco products continues, the authorities must also ensure that even more harmful counterfeit products are not allowed to fill the void.