Smokers’ group Forest has criticised the ban on the display of tobacco products which comes into force in large stores on Friday (6 April 2012).
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “There is no justification for a display ban. There are tens of millions of people in Britain today who have never smoked and have never been encouraged to smoke by the sight of a packet of cigarettes in a shop or anywhere else.
“If the aim is to reduce smoking rates the display ban won’t work. After some initial confusion existing smokers will ask for their regular brand and carry on smoking.
“Under-age smoking, which no-one likes to see, is unlikely to be affected either. Children don’t start smoking because they see cigarettes on a gantry behind the counter. If they smoke it’s normally because of peer pressure or the influence of a relative who smokes.
“The display ban is intended to denormalise cigarettes but tobacco is a legal product and adult consumers have a right to see clearly and without impediment the choice that is available to them.”