Health campaigners welcomed a ban on tobacco promotion in all large shops and supermarkets in England today.
The new legislation means all large shops and supermarkets must cover up cigarettes and hide tobacco products from public view.
The Department of Health said the move was in response to evidence that cigarette displays in shops can encourage young people to take up the habit.
More than 300,000 children under 16 try smoking each year and 5 per cent of children aged 11 to 15 are regular smokers, according to its figures.
Meanwhile 39 per cent of smokers say that they were smoking regularly before the age of 16.
Cancer Research UK director of tobacco control Jean King said: “We want everything we can possibly do to make cigarettes unavailable and inaccessible and something that children don’t see as a normal product.”
She said that there was “no positive use” for tobacco and no known safe level of use, adding: “We need to do everything we can to prevent young people getting hold of cigarettes.”
Under the new rules all tobacco products must be kept out of sight except when staff are serving customers or carrying out other day-to-day tasks such as restocking.
Those found not complying with the law could be fined up to £5,000 or face imprisonment.
The ban on displays will roll out to smaller shops and businesses in three years time while the government is also consulting on introducing plain packaging for packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products.