Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Curtains fear for tobacco store

Martin McGahey
Martin McGahey wants an exemption from the law

A tobacconist whose shelves carry hundreds of products fears he will have to work behind a curtain when a ban on displaying tobacco starts.

New laws banning tobacco displays in England and Wales were announced by the government on Tuesday.

Martin McGahey, 52, said there was not enough space under the counter at his shop in Exeter, Devon for his 2,000 tobacco products.

Mr McGahey's traditional shop has been at the same site since 1880.

It has been run by his family since 1930.

He said: "If we are included in the new laws then everything will have to be out of sight under the counter.

I would have to put up curtains and go backwards and forwards fetching tobacco for customers
Martin McGahey
"I would need a counter 8ft (2.4m) tall and 20ft (6.1m) wide for all the tobacco products I have got here.

"I would have to put up curtains and go backwards and forwards fetching tobacco for customers."

He is now campaigning to be excluded from the new rules.

He said: "We are one of the small number of specialist shops where customers are allowed to smoke if they are testing tobacco, so we hope we will be exempt from the new laws as well."

Ministers hope the display ban, included in the Health Bill, will reduce smoking.

But Mr McGahey said: "We already have pictorial warnings on packets showing diseased body parts so I cannot understand how not seeing the products will change anything."

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Tobacconist Martin McGahey has voiced his concerns

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SEE ALSO
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05 Sep 08 |  Health
Call to ban all tobacco adverts
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Tobacco display ban plan unveiled
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