Friday, March 28, 2008


SMOKERS will have to hold a large piece of card over their face so they cannot look at the cigarette they are smoking, ministers said last night.

The 'smoking mask' will include a small mouth hole and a handle, though later models may be fitted with elasticated straps.

From next April, if smokers want to buy cigarettes they will have to uncover them during a day-long treasure hunt using a series of very difficult clues.

Under the new regulations the smokers will then have to store their cigarettes inside a large cereal box, which may or may not contain a cobra.

When they want to smoke they must position the cereal box on a table, strap on their smoking mask and then fumble around inside the box in the hope of finding a cigarette and not a large, venomous snake.

The mask will also carry a warning which reads: "Lighting a Cigarette While Wearing This Mask May Cause You to Set Fire to the Mask Instead of the Cigarette and Burn Your Face Off."

Health secretary, Alan Johnson, said: "If you can't see nicotine, it can't see you. And, as any scientist will tell you, if something can't see you, it has no way of knowing you exist."

But Tory backbencher Denys Finch-Hatton said: "The best way to make cigarettes attractive to children is to hide them in the woods as part of a day-long treasure hunt."

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