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Tobacco display ban could be delayed for several years

Sun 15th January, 2012

A ban on the display of tobacco products in large stores in Scotland could be delayed for three years due to a legal challenge. 

Scottish public health minister Michael Matheson said the Scottish Government had been forced to put back the original launch date for larger retailers of 1 April this year – but said that it hoped to bring in the ban in all stores within three years.

The rules were due to begin for larger retailers in October 2011. But an appeal by Imperial Tobacco against a court decision dismissing its original challenge meant the legislation, which aims to stop young people taking up smoking, could not be used. Matheson said a "prudent" decision was made to defer the measure.

Imperial Tobacco, which says the ban is disproportionate and has no proven link to cutting child smoking, brought its legal action on the basis that the Scottish Parliament has no powers to pass the measure, because regulations on the sale of goods in Scotland are reserved to Westminster.

The case was previously dismissed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh, but is now under appeal.

In England, new laws to move cigarettes under the counter in supermarkets will come into force in April.

Sources: Scotland on SundayBBC News (15 January 2012)

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