A BAN on tobacco displays is coming into force in England – with ministers promising it will help curb the number of young people taking up smoking.

Cigarettes and other products will have to be kept below the counter in large shops and supermar-kets, while small outlets are exempt until 2015.

Other parts of the UK are planning similar action to drive down smoking rates.

At some point, smokers will have to realise that all it does is give you a lifetime of bad breath, costs more than an average house, and then gives you cancer and an early death. Smoking is the single most stupid thing a person can do.

But this tactic will not help. As usual, government shows itself clueless about addiction – because that is what it is. Smokers can no more choose to smoke than a heroin addict can take it or leave it.

The only choice they had was the first cigarette. To end an addiction, first understand what started it.

If you really want to stop them, be harsher on cigarette makers – and shopkeepers. I have seen people openly sell cigarettes to kids. A few hundred fines here and there would not hurt.

Salim Mulla, Blackburn.