September 25, 2010 - The House of Commons approved the move for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to ban cigarette displays and advertisements in shops and newsagents and turf out vending machines from pubs. Scotland has its own separate bill to achieve the same reform. (http://snus-news.blogspot.com/2009/11/in-process-across-uk-ban-on-cigarette.html; United Kingdom - House of Commons - ban cigarette displays a step closer/vending machine ban even closer..; England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..; British Considering Ban on Cigarette Displays...)
The reforms are contained in the 2009 Health Bill. The reforms have been a thorn in the side of giants British American Tobacco (BATS) and Imperial Tobacco (IMT). Both launched judicial reviews earlier this year after MPs (Members of Parliament) supported the Health Bill, (Tobacco groups seek to challenge UK display ban..) which is now going through the House of Lords and will take effect in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from October next year for larger shops and from 2013 for small shops. In Scotland almost 90 percent of respondents who replied to a Scottish Government consultation request oppose the tobacco display ban measure.
It still looks likely the reforms will be passed by the coalition government. (UK government could scrap tobacco control plans..;
Cigarette point-of-sale displays ban must go ahead, say leading doctors Coalition yet to decide on whether Labour legislation to put cigarettes out of customers' sight will be implemented, Denis Campbell, Health correspondent, Guardian.co.uk, 9/12/2010)
But it was reported that the original cabinet discussion about the ban provoked hot debate and was not supported by then business secretary Peter Mandelson. (United Kingdom - govt cabinet business secretary has reservations about new anti-smoking strategy.)
The plans have also come under fire from more than 70,000 UK newsagents which are engaged in a last-ditch battle to prevent the ban, saying it will cause fresh shop closures as tobacco makes up 30% of sales in small shops. (Newsagents lobby ministers to stop ban on tobacco displays Shopkeepers fear rules to stop cigarettes being on show will cost them their livelihoods by Deirdre Hipwell, Independent.co.uk, 9/12/2010) However, Deborah Arnott of anti-smoking campaign Ash said claims that businesses would fail because of the move were not borne out by the experience of other countries where such measures had been "popular and effective, without putting shops out of business".
But whether you are smoker or non-smoker the question here is whether the ban will affect business at BAT and Imperial. The answer, almost certainly, is no.
We can expect the disappearance of one marketing channel to be replaced by others, notably via social networking sites such as Facebook and at major music events.
Several of the UK's biggest festivals have allowed tobacco firms to sell their products on site. East London's Lovebox festival was co-sponsored by Imperial Tobacco's Rizla rolling paper, which is exempt from the ban on tobacco advertising.
An Imperial spokesman said the brand had sponsored a number of festivals. "It's all part of creating brand awareness and it's entirely legitimate." (Tobacco companies - sophisticated marketing techniques: music concerts, social networking..)
Reference: Big tobacco will run rings around new ban, Sarah Modlock, Interactive Investor, 9/22/2010.