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Scottish Grocers Federation Tell MSPs that Plans to Ban the Display of Tobacco in Shops are Not Supported by Compelling Evidence

John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has given evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sports Committee as it scrutinises the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1.

During a round table discussion with MSPs and representatives from organisations including the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, BII Scotland, Sinclair Collis Ltd and FOREST, John gave the view of convenience stores to issues including a tobacco display ban, a national registration scheme and fixed penalty notices.

Opening the discussion Mr Drummond said,

“ I would like to start with a quote from John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, which encapsulates our position -: ‘The lack of international evidence (to support a display ban) does not justify the burden this would place on small shops’. Two issues are included therein a) The lack of evidence – good legislation requires sound and compelling evidence, therefore this is bad legislation b) the disproportionate cost to our members in complying with the measures in this Bill, in many cases, a major refurbishment of the store, which will result in many millions of pounds for the Scottish convenience store sector.”

Speaking after the evidence session John Drummond said:

“This was an opportunity to express our concerns with the measures in the Bill. We do not believe this Bill will address the illicit trade in tobacco and measures that could make a difference including education, deterrents against adults that knowingly purchase tobacco for youngsters and ensuring Trading Standards have the appropriate resources to tackle the black market have been overlooked.”