Health officials have denied that plans to limit tobacco advertising at the point of sale are anti-competitive despite suppliers rallying together to take legal action.
Suppliers have launched a legal challenge against the Department of Health’s point of sale regulations, due to come into force in December, because they believe they will prevent “effective communication with adult smokers”.
The DoH said the changes, which will only allow retailers to display an A5-sized price list - 30% of which needs to be a health warning - were vital.
A DoH spokeswoman said: “The government does not accept the arguments put forward by the tobacco industry. The large, brightly coloured tobacco adverts currently on shelving are often close to products aimed at children. These regulations will help to reduce the number of people who smoke.”
Companies involved in the the legal action include Imperial Tobacco, Gallaher and British American Tobacco.
Tim Lord, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said: “The tobacco regulations contain unreasonable restrictions on information at the point of sale and will inhibit competition.”