A ban on the display of tobacco products in supermarkets and large shops has come into effect in Wales from today.
It is hoped the ban will help reduce the numbers of youngsters who start smoking and help adults trying to quit. The law will extend to smaller shops, including specialist tobacconists, in April 2015.
Large retailers are no longer allowed to have cigarettes and other tobacco products on display – except when staff are serving customers and carrying out tasks such as restocking.
Tobacco price lists will also look different. A plain A3 price list with no tobacco branding can be shown at the point of sale, with an illustrated price list available to customers on request. Customers may be asked for proof of age before being shown the illustrated list.
Non-compliance with the new law, which will be enforced by local trading standards officials, is a criminal offence. Anyone found guilty could face a fine of up to £5,000 or up to two years in prison.
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “Smoking remains a huge risk to public health in Wales. Around 20% of our NHS admissions are related to smoking, at a cost of more than £1million a day.
“Our aim is to reduce smoking levels in Wales to 16% by 2020 with an ultimate vision of a smoke-free society, in which the harm from tobacco is completely eradicated.
“We know young people can be influenced by seeing cigarettes on display and they can tempt adults who are trying to give up the habit.
“We see this new law as an important part of our drive to tackle the harm caused by smoking. If we can prevent young people from ever taking up smoking, we can give future generations a better chance of a healthy life.”