The Scottish Grocers Federation has today (7th August 2014) submitted its response to the DofH consultation on regulations for the plain packaging of tobacco products. SGF has slammed the proposals to impose prison sentences on retailers who are deemed to have committed offences under the regulations.
The ‘enforcement’ provisions of the draft regulations outline custodial sentences of 3 months for cases before a lower court and 2 years for any cases appearing before a higher court. Scotland has an entirely separate and unique court and justice system from the rest of the UK and the regulations do not take this into account.
SGF Policy Manager John Lee said,
“The proposals to criminalise retailers are totally disproportionate. Fixed penalty notices are surely the most appropriate initial sanction. In Scotland
we have the additional sanction of a tobacco banning order which is the most appropriate way of dealing with persistent offenders. It is way over the top to suggest that retailers should be thrown into jail because of plain packaging legislation. The Department of Health must look at this urgently and drastically rethink these proposals.”