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Barbara Hern, deputy chief executive of the National Children's Bureau said: "This (new tobacco display rules) will benefit adults, parents particularly, but all smokers, not to have that temptation in front of them."
She said there was "no positive use" for tobacco and no known safe level of use.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley dismissed the suggestion that smoking could become more attractive to young people if it is kept hidden and insisted the key issue was about "shifting the culture".
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the new rules banning big retailers from promoting tobacco was part of a move to ensure "we no longer see smoking as a part of life".
"It's also about supporting smokers who want to give up," he told BBC Breakfast.
"There's more than a third of smokers who say they want to stop. Each year we have nearly 800,000 smokers who try to quit, 50% succeed.
"We want to continue to increase that proportion, help more people to stop."
Director Simon Clark says the new legislation is based on the idea people immediately want to buy cigarettes just because they're on display.
Amanda Sandford, research manager at the charity Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) has welcomed the rules banning cigarettes from being put on display in large retailers and supermarkets.
The Health Minister Anne Milton said of the new rules governing the display of cigarettes and tobacco products:
From today, all large shops and supermarkets in England will have to cover up cigarettes and hide tobacco products from public view, under new rules.
The new legislation has come into effect to protect children from being the target of tobacco promotion and to help people quit smoking.
Evidence shows that cigarette displays in shops can lure young people to start smoking.
More than eight million people in England still smoke - it is one of biggest preventable killers causing more than 80,000 deaths each year.
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From today, all large shops and supermarkets in England will have to cover up cigarettes and tobacco products, under new rules.