‘Ill-thought-out’ tobacco display ban will be law

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Retailers have failed in their battle to stop the tobacco display ban becoming law, as MPs waved through the controversial Health Bill this week.

In its third reading in the House of Commons, MPs passed the Bill, which contains proposals for a tobacco display ban in supermarkets from 2011 and in smaller stores from 2013. It now goes back to the Lords for amendments to be considered, including an amendment to outlaw cigarette-vending machines.

MPs said the Bill had been passed because it would "protect our children from the dangers of smoking", but retailers branded it "ill thought-out and ineffective".

"I am dismayed to see politicians regarding this ban as a pivotal moment of change in the health of our nation, when there is no specific evidence to demonstrate such a ban will reduce tobacco consumption," said Philip Jenkins, MD of buying group Sugro UK. "The ban will effectively close down many small independents and cost those that do survive a great deal of expense."

Added Amal Pramanik, general manager of Imperial Tobacco UK: "Retailers are justifiably concerned about the lack of evidence and the public have a right to know why the government has been wedded to such an ineffectual proposal when the collateral damage from it is likely to be so great."

The ACS said the ban would be the "most costly and disruptive" of its type in the world.

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