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Cigarette display ban could be watered down

08 Nov 2010. Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable’s department is negotiating changes to the implementation of the Health Act, reported The Irish Times.

Legislation to block British shopkeepers from openly displaying cigarettes for sale, due to come into force early next year, is to be weakened after Conservative/Liberal Democrat ministers accepted that it could harm small businesses and encourage black-market sales of cigarettes.

The changes to the implementation of the Health Act could require House of Commons approval with one ministerial source saying that there ‘will be a compromise’.

Retailers and tobacco firms have lobbied to persuade the government not to go ahead with the restrictions, included in legislation passed in 2009 by Labour – citing the growth in illegal sales in Ireland since similar legislation was passed there. Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association said “recent evidence in Ireland proves, that organised crime will exploit the display ban.” (pi)