Minister plans cigarette machine ban
The DUP minister hopes to introduce the vending machine ban by 1 February 2012 with changes to tobacco sales regulations expected to take place next Spring.
He said: “Despite all the available evidence on the harm caused by smoking, hundreds of children and young people are still taking up this life-limiting habit each year.
“By removing displays of tobacco products from view in shops, and preventing children from accessing them through vending machines, we are building upon measures already in place aimed at reducing the prevalence of smoking.”
The minister said he had taken into consideration views from stakeholders during the consultation process.
Speaking on the legal challenges ongoing in England over similar regulation changes, he said: “My Department continues to follow the legal challenges, with a view to making the regulations as soon as possible once the legal position is clear, and a further announcement will be made in due course.
“I must stress that retailers will be informed of the final commencement date as soon as possible, to allow necessary adaptations to be made to their premises.”
Mr Poots confirmed that his Department had made some amendments to the draft regulations to bring them into line with changes proposed to the English regulations.
He said: “It is hoped that these amendments will facilitate retailers in complying with the legislation.”
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