July 1, 2010 - Imperial Tobacco is taking legal action to overturn plans to stop the open display of cigarettes and cigars in shops and to ban cigarette vending machines in Scotland. (Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..) The company claims that the Scottish parliament, which approved the measures earlier this year, does not have the legislative competence to prohibit tobacco displays and cigarette vending machines. The legal challenge, which will be heard next week in the Scottish civil courts, the court of session, is the latest attempt by the industry to prevent sweeping new controls of the sale of tobacco coming into force across the UK.
Background: Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and British American Tobacco (BAT) said on Monday, April 26th they are to seek a judicial review of the relevant sections of the Health Act 2009, in which the UK government is looking to impose the display ban to discourage smoking.The ban on open displays of tobacco products will come into force in Scotland for larger retailers next year and small shops in 2013, while the ban on cigarette vending machines, usually found in pubs, restaurants and hotels, begins in 2011.
The Health Act 2009 requires cigarettes, cigars, pipe and roll-your own tobacco products to be hidden from view in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from October 2011 in large retailers and from October 2013 in smaller outlets. Scotland is pushing its own banning legislation through its own parliament.
Tobacco groups seek to challenge UK display ban..
Also, Scotland - tobacco firms claim proposed display ban is unnecessary..
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Excellent paper on the UK Tobacco Industry..ASH UK, 4/2010.
Imperial Tobacco claims the new measures are an attempt to regulate the sale and supply of goods to consumers, a matter reserved to the Westminster parliament. The bans also affect the freedom of trade provisions between Scotland and England under the 1707 Act of Union, again something which Holyrood (Scottish parliament) is prevented by law from doing. Imperial said retailers would be required to comply with the new legislation at "significant cost and on pain of criminal penalty", while tobacco firms faced having their freedom to compete affected significantly.
The Scottish government said it would "rigorously defend" the legislation. "It is within the context of protecting future generations from the devastating effects of smoking that the measures set out in our act should be viewed."
References: Imperial Tobacco in legal action to stop Scots banning shop cigarette displays Tobacco firm says Scottish parliament does not have the power to stop displays or to ban cigarette vending machines, Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent, Guardian.co.uk, 6/24/2010; Imperial Tobacco Launches Legal Bid Against Ban On Open Sale In Scotland Follows similar suit in April in England and Wales.., NACSonline.com (NACS - National Association of Convenience Stores), 7/1/2010.
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