Imperial Tobacco loses cigarette display battle

Cigarette displays will be prohibited in large stores from April, once the Scottish Government triumphed in a landmark ruling against Imperial Tobacco in the Supreme Court.

Imperial Tobacco's cigarette brands

Imperial Tobacco Brands

Judges unanimously declined the firm’s appeal, which had formerly been unsuccessful two times at the Court of Session, stating it was a health, rather than a consumer, concern.

The ban on cigarette display will become operational in large stores from April, even though smaller shops will have until 2015 to make the required modifications.

The world’s fourth-largest tobacco company as well suffered to loss of its appeal against a vending machine ban, which will take effect in spring, with a four-month introduction period starting in 2013.

Imperial Tobacco, the maker of Davidoff cigarettes, accepted it had spent all possible ways of appeal, which indicates there is nothing now standing in the way of the ban.

Scottish ministers intend to regain their legal costs from the tobacco company, and the UK’s biggest vending machine operator Sinclair Collis, which also introduced failed legal action earlier. But, it rejected to say how much taxpayers’ income had been spent.

Just under one fourth of Scots are smokers, and it is determined to cost the NHS £323 million annually, although the pro-tobacco lobby points to the sum of tax smokers spend.

Michael Matheson, public health minister, stated that lowering smoking rates will have huge advantages for Scotland’s health, and these bans will have an essential effect in avoiding teenagers from starting smoking.”

The new laws were involved in the Primary Medical Services Act, with section one banning the display of cigarettes and section nine prohibiting cigarette vending machines.

Imperial Tobacco stated that they were both were outwith the competence of the Scottish Parliament, as they had to do with consumer matters reserved to Westminster.

Nevertheless, Lord Hope, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said that the goal of section one is to make it possible for the Scottish ministers to take action which might make tobacco products less noticeable to consumers and thus reach a decline in sales and thus in smoking.

“The goal of section nine is to make cigarettes less easily affordable, especially (but not only) to kids and teenagers, in order to reduce smoking.

“The court does not find how it can be said that the goal of these sections has anything related to consumer protection.”

The Supreme Court verdicts have been broadly accepted.

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