Scottish display ban delayed

04 February, 2011

Scotland has delayed implementing its tobacco display ban because of an ongoing legal challenge.

The ban had been due to come into force for larger retailers on October 1 this year but has been held up because of an appeal by Imperial Tobacco.

The Scottish government said the appeal hearing later this year would not give retailers enough time to prepare for the ban.

“The ban on displaying tobacco products in shops is being introduced to make cigarettes less attractive to children and young people,” said public health minister Shona Robison.

“We remain fully committed to this policy and are continuing to work with the retail industry to prepare for implementation. However, the ongoing legal challenge means that an October start date is now unrealistic. We will announce the new implementation date as soon as possible.

“We are committed to doing all we can to improve the nation’s health, and banning the display of tobacco products in shops will help to discourage a future generation of smokers.”?The Association of Convenience Stores has called on English ministers to delay implementing the ban here, saying “confusion and uncertainty reign” over the issue.

Westminster is still reviewing the display ban legislation brought in by the previous government and faces four separate legal challenges.

“As ministers prevaricate on policy in England, and courts in England and Scotland consider legal challenges, uncertainty prevails and the retailer suffers,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “We welcome the decision of the Scottish health minister to delay the implementation of a display ban and we urge ministers in England and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

“The delays and lack of clarity are making the situation impossible for retailers across Britain. It is now time for a delay.

“As time passes, evidence from Canada and the Republic of Ireland is showing that bans are having no impact on youth smoking rates. Having decided to delay implementation ministers have the opportunity for a rethink that will focus policy on measures that will actually reduce youth smoking.”

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