Cigarettes and other tobacco products are set to become under-the-counter items in the Irish Republic.

Retailers have been asked by health minister Mary Harney to say how soon they can implement new legislation to end the public display of all tobacco products and remove PoS adverts. They have until 16 November to respond.

The new measures, steered through parliament by Harney's predecessor, Micheál Martin - the minister who banned smoking in pubs and public places - is aimed at further curtailing the profile of cigarettes and discouraging the habit, particularly among young people. Retailers will be obliged to keep tobacco products in closed containers out of public view.

The minister has made it clear the only issue to be decided is when the new rules will take effect. "Submissions in relation to specific measures will not be considered," she said, "as the measures have already been enacted in legislation."

The minister also plans a register of all premises selling tobacco products. Breaches of the regulations or persistent underage selling could lead to retailers being removed from it.

Harney is considering the use of "graphic images on cigarette packets to illustrate the damage that can be caused to health".