Singapore to ban cigarette displays in stores

Singapore's parliament on Monday voted to ban the display of cigarettes in a bid to further curb the habit in a nation which already has one of the world's lowest smoking rates.

From 2017, merchants must keep tobacco out of sight and not display any advertisement of it, according to the the new regulations.

Singapore joins countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK in banning cigarette displays in stores.

Legislators also voted to ban all forms of , including online ads.

Electronic-cigarettes, as well as vapers, are also not allowed to be displayed, said Amy Khor, the city-state's Senior Minister of State for Health who moved the tobacco bill in parliament.

"Though we are fortunate that prevalence in Singapore has remained relatively low compared to many other countries, we must not be complacent," she said.

"We also know the industry aggressively markets their products to , so as to hook them from an early age. As such, we must step up our efforts to protect the public from the advertising effects of tobacco."

She noted that the smoking rate was brought to an all-time low of 12.6 percent in 2004, but that it slowly crept up to 13.3 percent in 2013.

Singapore has some of the lowest smoking rates in the world due to a combination of measures, including high nicotine taxes, a ban on print and broadcast and strict laws prohibiting lighting up in most parts of the city.

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© 2016 AFP

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