Tough anti-smoking legislation being introduced in the Irish parliament in the next few weeks "will place penal costs on thousands of Irish retailers", according to RGDATA, the independent grocers' organisation. Director general Ailish Forde claims that under the new Public Health (Tobacco) Bill, members will be "forced to fund the whole programme of tobacco control initiated by the government". RGDATA is lobbying for "significant and meaningful" changes. All point-of-sale tobacco advertising will be outlawed, together with the open display of tobacco products. Retailers will have to change shop layouts, removing current display cabinets and replacing them with new storage units that will keep all tobacco products out of sight of customers. All retailers selling cigarettes and tobacco will be registered by a new state agency, the Office of Tobacco Control, and pay a special registration fee, with the amount still to be decided. Shopkeepers convicted of selling cigarettes to under-18s ­ the new legal age limit ­ will face fines of IR£2,000. They will have their registration suspended for three to six months, barring them from selling tobacco to anyone. {{NEWS }}