LONDON -- British ministers say a ban on displaying packs of cigarettes inside supermarkets and other large stores will send a message that smoking is no longer acceptable.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said Friday – as the restrictions came into force – that the ban would show that Britons "no longer see smoking as a part of life."
The ban applies only in England and will be extended to smaller stores by 2015. It means cigarettes must be hidden behind screens, or under shop counters.
England is following the lead of Iceland, Ireland, and Canada, all of which previously introduced similar measures.
A ban on smoking indoors in public places, such as pubs, was introduced in Scotland in 2006 and in England in 2007.