Overprovision for cigarettes

ScotGov unveils new tobacco proposals

The Scottish Government is proposing further restrictions on tobacco sales

THE Scottish Government has unveiled a raft of new tobacco proposals that could limit the number of retailers allowed to sell cigarettes in deprived areas.

Proposals found in the government’s new five-year action plan ‘Raising Scotland’s Tobacco-free Generation’ include restricting the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco, “particularly where smoking rates are highest such as in more deprived communities”; introducing further price increases on tobacco; and rolling out a new conditional registration or licencing regime for retailers selling tobacco.

Other proposals include a ban on the use of new heated tobacco products (HTP) – which simulate smoking but without igniting the tobacco – from public places;  a ban on flavourings in HTP; and introducing standardised packaging for HTP.

The Scottish Government strategy did acknowledge the role e-cigarettes can play in smoking cessation, which was welcomed by Mark MacGregor, corporate affairs director at Philip Morris Limited – the firm behind heated tobacco brand Heets.

“It is encouraging that this new strategy recognises the important role that e-cigarettes can play in helping smokers to give up cigarettes,” said MacGregor.

“But if the Scottish Government wants to achieve its ambitious smoke free goals, we believe that more will need to be done to encourage smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives.”

Suleman Khonat, national spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance warned that if a restriction on the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco was implemented, it could lead to shop closures across Scotland.

“Make no mistake, if this measure was introduced it would sound the death-knell for corner shops across many parts of Scotland. Removing tobacco sales would make these shops unviable and force their closure depriving communities of crucial local services,” said Khonat.

Scottish Government public health minister Aileen Campbell said: “The action plan demonstrates our commitment to the new Public Health Priorities which include an ambition for a Scotland free from the harms caused by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.