The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for a ban on tobacco-vending machines and wants premises wishing to sell tobacco to have to apply for a licence.
The hard-hitting proposals, which also include banning sales of 10-packs, are included in the BMA's report Breaking the Cycle of Children's Exposure to Tobacco Smoke.
The association wants to
see a "positive licensing scheme" put in place for to-bacco sales along the same lines as alcohol licensing. It also wants a ban on displaying tobacco at the point of sale.
"By banning 10-pack cigarettes and tobacco-vending machines and making tobacco products more expensive, fewer children will be able to buy them," said Dr Vivienne Nathanson. "Cigarettes must be made more inaccessible to children."
However, anti-smoke ban lobby group Freedom2Choose slammed the idea as "ludicrous". Spokesman Robert Feal-Martinez said: "It defies belief. Vending machines in pubs are supervised by someone who is deemed to be fit and proper to sell alcohol - so why do we need a separate licence to sell tobacco?"