MLAs vote to ban tobacco advertising and promotion in NI

Man rolling a cigarette 59% of rolling tobacco in Northern Ireland is said to be illegal

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Assembly members have voted to ban advertising and the promotion of tobacco in Northern Ireland.

Health Minister Edwin Poots explained the new regulations were "to prevent young people from taking up smoking".

The minister said the changes would be brought forward in large businesses from 31 October 2012, but not until April 2015 for smaller retailers.

Similar regulations are already in place or due to be introduced in the rest of the UK.

"While I'm not claiming that my department's new tobacco control regulations would solve the problem of youth smoking, I believe that putting promotion and branding out of sight will help to put it out of mind for a number of young people," he said.

Mr Poots explained that retailers would be allowed to display prices in poster-style lists, in lists with pictures of products which would not be allowed to be on permanent show, or on price labels.

He said environmental health officers in local district councils would enforce the new rules which would bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK.

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