Tobacco Display Ban – Draconian and Expensive

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) is concerned Scottish Ministers are planning the most costly, disruptive and draconian tobacco display ban of its type in the world if they implement draft regulations published today.

The Scottish Government has published a consultation that sets out what a retailer would have to do to implement the new law banning tobacco displays. The Government will allow retailers an area approximately the size of a packet of cigarettes to be seen by a customer when they are being served tobacco. Regulations in England and proposed regulations in Wales allow 80 packets of cigarettes to be seen by a customer during a transaction.

John Drummond, Chief Executive of SGF said:

“The Minister has proposed regulations that are the most inflexible and draconian of their type anywhere in the world and will result in higher costs and greater disruption for retailers in Scotland compared with retailers throughout the rest of the UK.”

The Government is suggesting that the cost of refitting a medium-sized shop to comply with a display ban is estimated at £320.

John Drummond continued: “The technical challenges in fitting a solution to existing units that is robust enough to meet the Ministers’ demands could be insurmountable. It could result in retailers having to rip out and replace existing units resulting in an outlay far greater than the Scottish Government’s superficial estimate.

“The evidence that a display ban affects smoking rates is weak, but there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that a tiny permitted display area during transactions is necessary for the policy to succeed.

“SGF will make a strong case to the government that sets out how damaging their proposed approach to regulations is.”