Supreme court backs tobacco bans


A ban on open display of cigarettes in shops and tobacco vending machines has won the final stage of its legal challenge.

The Supreme Court has rejected Imperial Tobacco’s legal challenge against the Scottish Government’s plan to ban tobacco displays in shops and tobacco sales from automatic vending machines.

Today’s ruling comes after an appeal by the tobacco giant was dismissed at the Court of Session in Edinburgh earlier this year and paves the way for the Scottish Government to implement the bans in the New Year.  

Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:

“Today’s judgment removes the final barrier to fully implement the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 and maintain Scotland’s position as a world leader on tobacco control.

“We know that reducing the number of people that smoke will have wide benefits for Scotland’s health and these bans will play a crucial role in preventing young people from taking up smoking.

“We will be looking to recover the legal fees incurred to the tax payer as a result of this court case. 

“Given that this legislation was passed over two years ago and is already in force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are strong arguments to introduce it immediately. 

“However, I have always been clear on the need to allow retailers sufficient time to make the necessary changes and so we have decided that April 2013 represents a fair timescale for implementing the display ban. 

“The introduction of the ban on vending machines will be in line with our commitment to provide a four month implementation period.”