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Tobacco display ban comes under court challenge

25 June 2010

The Scottish Parliament's law banning the display for sale of tobacco is to come under challenge in an action to be heard in the Court of Session next week.

Cigarette maker Imperial Tobacco is seeking a judicial review of provisions in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act which ban the display of tobacco in shops and the use of cigarette vending machines.

The company claims that Holyrood went beyond its powers in passing the neasures, as they regulate the sale and supply of goods to consumers, a matter reserved to Westminster, and affect freedom of trade between Scotland and England, contrary to the Act of Union.

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini QC is defending the legislation, a Government measure, on the basis that it is a public health measure and part of a drive to reduce smoking in Scotland, and therefore within the Parliament's competence.

The Act is due to come into force in 2011 for large retailers and 2013 for small shops, which fear it will help drive them out of business.

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