London, May 26 : British Health Secretary Alan Johnson has revealed that new plans have been designed to curb smoking among young people.
He said that cigarettes will be banned from public display in shops, and vending machines scrapped under the new scheme.
He revealed that the proposals also seek to outlaw packets of 10 cigarettes, and that they are to be published by him later this week.
Johnson said that a consultation paper included plans to force cigarettes to be kept "under the counter" out of public view.
He also praised the Scottish government for banning cigarettes on display north of the border.
"I think they're right to do that and we're considering that as well," the Independent quoted him as saying.
Johnson also hinted that the Government was contemplating further needful actions to curb the consumption of tobacco products, after the ban on smoking in public places that was introduced last summer.
"Younger people are more influence by advertising. Two hundred thousand kids under 16 start smoking every year and their chances of a premature death from smoking are three times higher than if they had started smoking in their twenties," he said.
Johnson appreciated the fact that other European countries had enjoyed "startling results" by banning vending machines, where there was no control over the age of the purchaser.
As regards the 10-pack being in the firing line, he said: "I started smoking very young and you could get 10 Woodbines and you could get threepenny singles. Well they have taken threepenny singles away but whether you should still be able to buy 10 cigarettes or whether you should insist you can only buy 20 is an issue we need to look very closely at."
Pro-smoking groups accused the Government of forcing people to act "in a government-approved way", while retailers attacked the plans saying they would cost them thousands of pounds.
Anti-smoking groups, however, welcomed the move.