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    German Doctor Wants to Ban Retail Sale of Cigarettes

    FRANKFURT - Germany should ban the retail sale of cigarettes from public machines, kiosks, supermarkets and other retail outlets, and instead restrict their sale to pharmacies, a prominent German physician has said.

    FRANKFURT - Germany should ban the retail sale of cigarettes from public machines, kiosks, supermarkets and other retail outlets, and instead restrict their sale to pharmacies, a prominent German physician has said.

    In an interview that appeared in a popular German tabloid, Dr. Friedrich Hach, head of the Family Physician Association of Hamburg, said pharmacies are suited for selling cigarettes because they also dispense other addictive drugs.

    "Cigarettes are more dangerous than many medicines and do not belong in the hands of children," he said. "For that reason, access should be made more difficult."

    He noted that pharmacists already sell nicotine products that are used to help smokers quit smoking

    He added: "Pharmacists could also give expert advice on how to quit smoking."

    Hach told Reuters Health that his highest priority would be banning the sale of cigarettes in public machines, because the machines are easily accessible to children.

    Smoking and non-smokers' rights in recent weeks have become major issues as the German government prepares to increase tobacco taxes and establish more non-smoking areas. Until only the past few years, smokers in Germany could smoke almost anywhere they pleased in workplaces, restaurants and other public areas, leaving non-smokers to either endure the smoke or leave the area.

    Now newspapers such as Bild are running headlines questioning whether smokers are losing their rights to smoke.

    Hach told Reuters Health he believes that even with the latest initiatives the German government still has a "schizophrenic" relationship with tobacco.

    "On the one hand, politicians want the taxes," he said. "You see cigarettes sold on every street corner. And on the other hand they talk about how unhealthy cigarettes are. They need to take a harder stand against cigarettes."

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