Scottish Parliament plans cigarette sales crack down

The Scottish Parliament has unveiled plans to stop selling cigarettes in packets of 10 and to ban the counter display of tobacco in shops from 2010 in a bid to stop the young from smoking. Deputy health minister Shona Robison unveiled the plans yesterday (May 21), as part of a £9m five-point action plan.

The move comes six months after the raising of the legal age for buying cigarettes from 16 to 18. Scotland was also the first home nation to ban smoking in public places two years ago.

Robinson told MSPs that although tobacco advertising has been banned since 2002, there were growing concerns that public displays of cigarettes in shops were hindering efforts to “denormalise” smoking.

“There is evidence that displays stimulate impulse purchases among those not intending to buy cigarettes and, importantly, among smokers who are trying to give up,” she adds. She says she recognises concern in the retail sector about banning displays, but that they are being used as a promotional tool.

Retailers may also have to be licensed to sell tobacco and could face cautions and fines.

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