Retailers are facing further regulation of their tobacco sales, including restrictions on cigarette displays, under new plans revealed by the government.
Launching its new five-year NHS Cancer Reform Strategy, health secretary Alan Johnson said the Department of Health (DoH) was to consult on the way in which tobacco products were displayed at the point of sale. Cigarettes could be placed under the counter instead of on display in a bid to prevent teenagers taking up smoking.
Despite the fact that all packs will carry large pictorial heath warnings from October 1, 2008, the DoH is also considering whether there is potential to go further on packaging.
The consultation, which will take place during spring 2008, will also look into banning cigarette vending machines in pubs, clubs and bars.
The plans also revealed that the government would continue to raise tax on tobacco products, and would take action on what it described as the "major problem" of illicit tobacco.