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Solicitors of England & Wales
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Tobacco display ban26 January 2012
From 6th April 2012, 'large shops' in England, will no longer be able to display tobacco products to the public in England. It will be also be illegal to show (as well as sell) tobacco products to a customer under the age of 18 years who asks to see or to buy tobacco.
Large shop means a shop with a relevant floor area exceeding 280m2. The ban will apply to all remaining tobacco retailers from 6th April 2015 (including bulk and specialist tobacconists as well as pubs and clubs etc).
Tobacco products will only be able to be 'displayed' in very limited circumstances such as when staff are serving customers, re-stocking, undertaking training etc. Even under such circumstances the tobacco storage unit on temporary open display should not exceed 1.5m2.
Further, from the relevant dates, all price lists and labels for tobacco products must be in specific formats to ensure that they cannot be exploited as forms of tobacco promotion.
Contravention of the new laws could lead to a fine and/or imprisonment, so premises should ensure that they will be in compliance at the relevant date, which will likely mean taking action to adjust tobacco storage units and cabinets.
Operators should be mindful of these new requirements, particularly as the sale of tobacco to persons aged under 18 will effectively result in two offences being committed - one for the 'display' of tobacco and one for the sale.
In Scotland and Wales, the bans for large shops are being deferred principally due to legal challenges. New dates have not yet been announced.
If you have any queries about the changes to the law or require assistance in relation to permitted displays and price lists, please contact us.