Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Scottish tobacco display ban laws approved by MSPs

MSPs debated the bill at Holyrood: From Democracy Live

New laws to end the open display of tobacco in shops in Scotland have been passed by MSPs.

The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill will also ban cigarette vending machines and introduce a registration scheme for retailers.

Ministers said the legislation would make cigarettes less attractive to children and young people.

But shopkeepers and manufacturers said the measures were unjustified and would be costly to bring in.

Large retailers have until 2011 to implement the ban, while smaller shops have been given a 2013 deadline.

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon, whose party opposed the bill, failed in an attempt to kill it off, while a move by Labour's Dr Richard Simpson to further restrict sales of tobacco-related products was also thrown out.

MSPs passed the bill by 108 votes to 15.

The evidence that this will actually stop young people smoking just isn't there
John Drummond
Scottish Grocers' Federation

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: "We've already made great strides, notably by banning smoking in public places and raising the age for buying cigarettes to 18.

"This Bill goes further by introducing measures designed to stop children from starting to smoke in the first place."

Anti-smoking body Ash Scotland backed the government's position that the move would reduce the 15,000 youngsters in Scotland who started smoking every year.

"This legislation means Scotland remains a world leader in tobacco control," said the organisation's Sheila Duffy.

But Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, said there was "no credible evidence" to show the legislation would tackle the issue.

Westminster support

"The last thing we need in the midst of challenging economic times is further regulation that will facilitate illicit trade in tobacco products and impact adversely on thousands of small retailers and the communities they serve," he said.

And John Drummond, of the Scottish Grocers' Federation, said it was still unclear how tobacco would have to be stored to comply with a display ban, adding: "The evidence that this will actually stop young people smoking just isn't there."

Other measures in the bill bring in fixed penalty notices for retailers who sell cigarettes to under-18s and measures which would exclude certain individuals or private firms from entering into contracts with health boards to provide GP services.

At Westminster, MPs last year supported a backbench amendment to outlaw cigarette vending machines in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as part of the UK government's Health Bill.

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Times Online Young teen drink and drug use on the wane - 5 hrs ago
The Scotsman Shops in final tobacco plea - 9 hrs ago

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