What will be the impact of a ban on displaying tobacco products in shops and vending machines?

From 1 July 2009 the Public Health Tobacco Amendment Act comes into force. This will make it illegal for tobacco products to be displayed and advertised in shops. There are also restrictions for cigarette vending machines. 

The aim is to protect children from tobacco advertising but retailers and vending machine operators say their businesses will be affected.

Newsagent Ann Murphy and her staff have been busy making the necessary changes to the shop shelves. Cigarettes will now be stored inside a machine without any advertising or logos from cigarette companies behind the shop counter,

People coming in won’t know what cigarettes we sell.

Vincent Jennings from the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association says that his members will adhere to the letter of the law,

We are citizens of the state, we are parents.

The 9,000 cigarette vending machines across the country must also change. In addition to the ban on advertising, they will only be permitted in licensed premises and must be token activated.

Brian Cahill of the Irish Cigarette Machine Operators Association says his members have taken a big hit,

You’re looking at a serious cost of about €250 per machine.

This legislation is about protecting young people from the damaging health effects of cigarettes, and in time we will appreciate that it is for the greater good, maintains Eamonn Rossi from the Office of Tobacco Control,

We will find it unconscionable that we allowed the tobacco industry to advertise their wares to our children in the local store.

One smoker who spoke to RTÉ News said the new measures will not make any difference a non-smoker is in favour of them,

It’s good that they’re out of sight, out of mind.

An RTÉ News report broadcast 30 June 2009. The reporter is Martina Fitzgerald. The newsreader is Anne Doyle.