06 February 2013
New regulations will see the removal of cigarettes and tobacco displays in shops, supermarkets, petrol stations and other retail outlets within two years.
The Department has also lodged an amendment to the tobacco law which enable them to make regulations in the future to prohibit the use of vending machines.
Both the legal changes are identified in the Tobacco Control Strategy 2010-2015. Their implementation is a crucial step to meeting the headline targets for reducing the number of children under 16 years old who smoke to under 5 per cent.
The Head of Health Improvement, Andrew Heaven said "There is a substantial body of evidence showing that the advertising and promotion of tobacco products is both directly and indirectly related to young people taking up smoking, then progressing from experimentation to regular smoking, and finally to continued smoking amongst adults. This is the reason we want to see restrictions on the promotion of tobacco, because studies indicate it can make a real difference."
Mr Heaven added "Tobacco vending machines continue to represent an accessible and ready supply of tobacco for children under the legal age of purchase. Despite increased retailer vigilance and increased restrictions on their placement a significant number of children still report buying tobacco from vending machines. Approximately 6% of underage tobacco purchases by 14 – 15 year olds came from tobacco vending machines . Anecdotal evidence from young people would suggest that the extent to which tobacco vending allows access to tobacco is under represented in the survey."