Two years after banning smoking in pubs and public places, the Irish government is seeking to impose new restrictions on the retail trade.

Department of Health Minister Sean Power confirmed that the sale of packs of ten cigarettes is to be banned in a bid to put the cost of cigarettes out of the reach of youngsters.

However, he promised that the trade would be given sufficient notice of start dates.

Power also promised consultation on other measures - a ban on tobacco advertising in outlets selling cigarettes and on their public display in shops, as well as restrictions on the use of vending machines.

The bans on tobacco advertising and shop displays are being challenged by the industry. But Power insisted that he expected most of the measures to be implemented by the end of the year.