UK: Scottish Cigarette Display Ban Ruling Due Today
Imperial Tobacco is to find out if it has won a legal fight against a planned cigarette display ban in Scotland.
The UK's highest court gives its ruling today on a challenge by the tobacco giant against the Scottish Government's attempts to ban the open display of cigarettes in shops in Scotland. At a hearing in London lawyers representing Imperial asked a panel of five Supreme Court justices to analyse the issues after twice failing to persuade Scottish judges to set aside legislative provisions.
Ministers say display bans are needed to protect future generations from the "devastating effects" of smoking. Imperial says there is no credible evidence that display bans have cut tobacco consumption.
The firm also argues that the legislative provisions dealing with display bans fall outside the scope of the Scottish Government and are matters reserved for the UK Parliament in London.
Imperial, the firm behind Lambert & Butler and Richmond cigarette brands, is also opposing a ban on tobacco vending machines. The company's civil court challenge has delayed the implementation of measures aimed at stopping people smoking.
Ministers had intended to introduce the display ban in large shops in Scotland - the first part of the UK to adopt a ban on smoking in public places - in April. Imperial initially sought a judicial review of ministers' plans for display bans. A judge in Scotland ruled against the firm in September 2010. Imperial appealed but three judges rejected the challenge in February.
That decision was welcomed by Scotland's public health minister, Michael Matheson, who said the proposals would play a "crucial role" in preventing youngsters from starting to smoke. But Imperial voiced disappointment and appealed to the Supreme Court.
NamNews - Wednesday 12th December 2012