Ban is no answer

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Further to your article (13 December) on the tobacco display ban: as a responsible Scottish retailer, I strongly oppose underage smoking. But legislation to introduce a display ban is not the answer as there is no credible evidence to suggest a display ban will stop young people smoking. Young people smoke because of peer pressure and because a member of the family smokes. It isn’t because they can see tobacco on sale in shops.

Instead of banning tobacco displays, retailers in Scotland propose effective alternatives to combat underage smoking. There needs to be a crackdown on people who sell cigarettes on the black market; these criminals do not care about who they sell tobacco to.

The Scottish Government also needs to increase the resources available to enforcement agencies to further implement the existing law on prohibition of sales to under-18s.

There also needs to be further support for schemes such as No ID No Sale, which has been proven to work.

The display ban will just encourage longer serving times in shops, more shoplifting when the shopkeeper’s back is turned and will not achieve the aim of reducing underage smoking.

Geoff Barrett

Scottish spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance