Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 16:52 UK

Shop tobacco ban 'makes no sense'

Abdul Majid
Mr Majid said there is no evidence a ban would reduce tobacco sales
Abdul Majid is one shopkeeper who will be affected by the Scottish Government's plan to ban the display of tobacco behind store counters.

Public health minister Shona Robison said the displays undermined efforts to "denormalise smoking".

But Mr Majid, owner of the Spar on Bellshill's North Road, in Lanarkshire, said the proposal did not make sense.

"I don't see exactly where they are coming from because the display allows customers to make an informed decision, and putting cigarettes under the counter removes that choice," he said.

"The argument doesn't make sense. Cigarettes are not an impulse buy. A customer isn't going to look at the gantry (display case) and say 'I like the look of that brand, I'll buy that today.'"

There is no evidence to suggest moving the gantries makes any difference.
Abdul Majid

Mr Majid, a representative of the Scottish Grocers' Federation, said the ban would also result in a substantial financial burden for businesses.

He said: "It will be inconvenient for both staff and customers.

"It's going to impact financially and on our day-to-day selling. Cigarettes are a high-value commodity and we're going to have to pay for new ways of storing them, look at the security our staff, and insurance.

"Larger companies might be ok, but smaller ones will suffer."

Mr Majid has expressed his concerns to the Scottish Government, but said ministers seemed determined to push the changes through.

He argued similar measures in Ireland had proved ineffective.

"Ireland have gone down this route as well and it hasn't worked," Mr Majid said.

"There is no evidence to suggest cigarette sales have declined.

"I could understand it if they could justify it, but there is no evidence to suggest moving the gantries makes any difference."

Tobacco display ban plan unveiled
21 May 08 |  Scotland
Legal smoking age to rise to 18
13 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Smokers in poorer areas targeted
05 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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