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SGF Makes Case Against Inflexible Tobacco Regulations

SGF has submitted a detailed response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the regulations governing the proposed ban on the display of tobacco in shops.

The Scottish Government draft regulations propose the permitted display area should be 120 sq cm (roughly the size of a packet of 20 cigarettes). In England, the Department of Health has agreed the permitted display area will be 7,500 sq cm.

SGF remains opposed to the ban and in their response calculated the cost of a ban under the current proposals as being far higher than suggested in the consultation and by Ministers.

John Drummond SGF Chief Executive said,

“Ministers have suggested the cost of a ban for a medium sized store would be around £320. We believe these costs have been severely underestimated. Discussions we have held with shop fitters, shows the likely costs of installing flaps over existing gantries will be at least £1400. However, these costs would increase if finding a long term retrofit solution for existing gantries proves challenging due to the restrictive dimensions of the permitted display area.

“There will also be additional on-going costs for retailers as a result of a display ban due to increased transaction times.

“Despite our opposition to the ban on the grounds that there is no compelling evidence that it would be effective, we will continue to engage to attempt to find a low cost solution.

“We are also asking the Scottish Government to reconsider implementation dates. Whilst we agree with staggered implementation dates between large and small shops, the compliance dates of October 2011 for large stores and October 2013 for small stores is unrealistic, considering the alterations that will have to be made in-store.

“These regulations will require a significant investment during a difficult trading climate and follow hard on the heels of the significant costs retailers are already absorbing following the implementation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

“For all retail business to comply with the regulations will be an operational and a financial burden. This burden will only be increased if the implementation timeframe is insufficient. We therefore recommend that the implementation dates should be extended to October 2012 for large stores and October 2014 for small stores.”