John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has expressed disappointment at the outcome of the tobacco display ban vote.
John Drummond said:
“SGF agrees with the Scottish Government that young people should not smoke and should be actively discouraged from doing so. However, we believe there are better ways of achieving this than banning the display of tobacco in small shops. The evidence that a display ban affects smoking rates is weak.
“Making it an offence for a person under the age of 18 to attempt to purchase tobacco and criminalising the purchase of tobacco by an adult on behalf of a child, sends out a strong message to the public and we believe will assist in creating a culture change.
“We remain convinced the combined effects of these deterrents, together with the increase in the legal age to purchase tobacco from 16 to 18 and effective measures to tackle the illegal trade in communities, would have made the display ban unnecessary.
“It is still unclear from the draft regulations and the Bill how retailers should store tobacco in order to comply with the display ban. However, if Ministers’ preferred solution goes ahead, Scotland will have more restrictive and inflexible regulations than England.
“The technical challenges in fitting a solution to existing units to meet the Ministers’ demands could be extremely challenging and prohibitively expensive for small retailers.
“SGF is concerned a ban is more likely to increase young people’s fascination in tobacco.”