Tobacco display ban ‘won’t stop underage smokers’
From Monday, larger stores will no longer be able to have tobacco products on open display.
Public health minister Michael Matheson has previously argued that the move will “will help prevent young people from taking up smoking”.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland have already brought in similar bans to prevent large stores from displaying cigarettes and tobacco.
But the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance (TRA) - which represents more than 26,000 shopkeepers across the UK - argued against the legislation.
It also urged the Scottish Government to tackle tobacco smuggling, saying this was a “key source” of cigarettes for underage smokers.
TRA Scotland spokesman Geoff Barrett, who is a retailer in Glasgow, said: “There is still no credible evidence that introducing this ban will stop young people smoking.
“That’s not really surprising because we all know young people smoke because of peer pressure or because friends or families smoke.
“Instead of burdening retailers with yet more regulation and restrictions, the Scottish Government should look at tackling the problem of tobacco smuggling, which is endemic across Scotland and which is a key source of tobacco for Scotland’s underage smokers.
“Tobacco smugglers never ask the age of their customers if they think they are under 18, the way retailers have to.
“It also doesn’t make any sense that the UK Government is still looking at putting tobacco in plain packaging before this latest restriction on display has even been implemented in Scotland, let alone evaluated.”
The tobacco display ban was introduced as part of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, which will also ban the sale of cigarettes from vending machines from Monday.
Smaller retailers have until April 6, 2015 to comply with the tobacco display ban.