The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed the Public Health Minister’s announcement that small shops (under 280 sq m) will not be required to implement a tobacco display ban until April 2015 but is disappointment there has been no further announcement on the details of a display ban north of the border
The display ban has already been delayed due to an on-going legal challenge by Imperial Tobacco. The new timescales mean large retailers will be required to implement a display ban by 1st April 2012 and small shops by 1st April 2015.
John Drummond, Chief Executive of the SGF said:
“I welcome the Ministers acknowledgement that retailers will need more time to prepare for the changes which will be implemented at the same time both north and south of the border.
“While we still do not know the final details of a display ban in Scotland, I am disappointed there has been no movement from the Scottish Government on proposals relating to the details of a display ban, consulted on last year.
“Today the UK Health Minister Andrew Lansley MP announced that the size of the display allowed while serving customers in England will increase to 1.5 sq m while in Scotland the proposal is for an allowable display area of 120 sq cm (approx size of a packet of 20 cigarettes).
“At the very least small shops in Scotland must have parity with English retailers otherwise Scottish retailers will be placed at a significant disadvantage as they are forced to install more expensive storage solutions to accommodate draconian regulations.
“SGF is keen to continue to work with the Scottish Government to find a workable solution.”
Commenting on announcement by the UK Government that it will consult on plans to introduce plain packing of tobacco products, John Drummond said:
“Plain packaging would not have the operational costs which would be involved with a display ban. However, it would have operational implications for retailers especially regarding customer transaction times and we are concerned it could boost the illegal trade in tobacco. We would also need to see compelling evidence that plain packaging would be effective at reducing levels of smoking.”