UK cigarettes to be sold under the counter
The UK government has passed unprecedented legislation to force shopkeepers to keep cigarettes under the counter rather than display them. New restrictions on cigarette vending machines are also to go into force. The new measures are intended to precent children from taking up smoking. The legal age to smoke tobacco products in the UK was raised from 16 to 18 last year.
Tobacco products will be barred from display in shops despite fears it could hit small stores during the economic downturn.
The new restrictions come after an extensive consultation on measures to reduce the number of children who take up smoking and helping those already addicted to quit.
But ministers will not go as far as recommending all cigarette packaging be plain with only the brand name and health warnings printed on them.
Sales from vending machines will also be restricted as research has shown children can buy cigarettes from them easily even though they are supposed to be in places where shops owners and pub landlords can supervise them.
Experts are keen to build on the success of the ban on smoking in public places, introduced in England in July 2007, and the increase in the legal age to buy tobacco to 18.