Supermarkets launch ban to display cigarettes

Open Tobacco Display

Supermarkets were banned from displaying cigarettes and other tobacco products after new rule became effective on April, 29.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson states that this step is the “right step” to discourage the younger generation from start smoking.

The open display ban was implemented as part of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, which will also touch on the sale of cigarettes from vending machines banned.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland have already introduced identical bans to avoid supermarkets from displaying cigarettes and tobacco products.

Stores that do not conform could be charged of a criminal offence or receive a fixed fine from trading standards officers.

“These bans are the right move to avoid teenagers in Scotland from try using cigarettes,” Mr Matheson said.

“It is well known that smoking is related to a variety of disease and is the major preventable cause of ill health. Annually, tobacco consumption is connected with more than 54,000 hospital admissions in Scotland.

“For this reason it is so necessary that this government works to improve health by lowering the amount of people who prefer smoking and evidence demonstrates that adolescents encountered with the advertising of cigarettes are more likely to start smoking.”

The Scottish Government’s Tobacco Control Strategy also supports the launch of standardized packaging.

Vicky Crichton, senior public affairs manager in Scotland for Cancer Research UK, claimed: “The following move is to get rid of all branding from cigarette packs. This would mean an end to the attractive, slickly designed packs that can appeal young adults into considering tobacco isn’t dangerous and would make all tobacco brands look the same.”

The Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance – which refers to more than 26,000 shopkeepers across the UK – has spoken out against the new rule.

TRA Scotland spokesman Geoff Barrett, who is a merchant in Glasgow, explained: “There is still no trustworthy data that launching this ban will prevent youngsters from smoking.

“That’s not really unexpected as we all know youngsters smoke because of peer pressure or because friends or families are smokers.

“Rather than burdening retailers with yet more rules and limitations, the Scottish Government should evaluate the problem of tobacco smuggling, which is very prevalent across Scotland and which is a major source of tobacco for Scotland’s young smokers.

“It also doesn’t make any sense that the UK Government is still considering standardized packaging before this latest restriction on display has even been introduced in Scotland, let alone evaluated.”

Supersmarkets are characterized as those with a relevant floor area exceeding 280 square metres. Smaller retailers have until April 6, 2015 to conform to the display ban.

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