LEGISLATION to curb smoking by imposing a ban on tobacco displays in shops came a step closer yesterday after an appeal against the proposals by one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies was rejected by judges.
Imperial Tobacco went to court to challenge the
provisions of the Tobacco and Primary Medical (Scotland) Act 2010 on the
grounds that the matter was reserved to Westminster and outwith the
legislative scope of Holyrood.
Yesterday at the Court of Appeal in
Edinburgh three judges upheld an earlier appeal that ruled none of the
grounds submitted by Imperial were valid and the legislation should
stand. Imperial could now take the matter to the Supreme Court in
Michael Matheson, the public health minister, welcomed the
decision. “I am delighted that the court has upheld the ruling made in
September 2010 by Lord Bracadale to dismiss Imperial Tobacco Limited’s
legal challenge against the bans on tobacco displays and tobacco sales
from automatic vending machines,” he said.
Vicky Crichton of
Cancer Research UK said: “We welcome this ruling by appeal court judges.
We hope this judgment allows Scotland to move forward with plans to
protect future generations of children by putting tobacco out of sight
and out of mind.”
The legislation, which will ban the open display of cigarettes in
shops and outlaw vending machines, was due to have come into effect in
large retailers last October but was delayed until April 2012 because of
Imperial’s legal challenge.
Three weeks ago the Scottish
Government announced a further delay to “a date to be announced”. The
display ban for small shops is scheduled for 2015.
Campaigners against smoking have said the Act will bolster Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in tobacco control.
retailers and the tobacco industry warned that the legislation would
have a severe effect on small shopkeepers who were already reeling from
the recession. Sections 1 and 9 of the Act make it an offence to display
tobacco products or smoking-related products in the course of business,
and to have control of premises on which a vending machine is
In his judgment, Lord Hamilton said the objectives of the provisions were not in doubt.
risk which the smoking of tobacco products is perceived to present is
to health, primarily of the smokers as consumers but also of those
non-smokers who may be exposed to a smoke-filled environment and, by
‘passive smoking’, suffer adverse affection,” he added.
maintained that the provisions related to a reserved matter, the
regulation of the sale and supply of goods to consumers, and also
claimed they modified article 6 of the Union with England Act 1707, so
far as it related to freedom of trade, and therefore breached the
Scotland Act 1998