A tobacco display ban will be implemented in large Scottish shops from next April, after Imperial Tobacco lost its final legal challenge against the Scottish Government’s plans.

The Supreme Court has today rejected Imperial Tobacco’s legal challenge. The ruling comes after an appeal by Imperial was dismissed at the Court of Session in Edinburgh earlier this year.

“Today’s judgment removes the final barrier to fully implement the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 and maintain Scotland’s position as a world leader on tobacco control,” said public health minister Michael Matheson.

“Given that this legislation was passed over two years ago and is already in force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are strong arguments to introduce it immediately.

“However, I have always been clear on the need to allow retailers sufficient time to make the necessary changes and so we have decided that April 2013 represents a fair timescale for implementing the display ban,” he added.

The legislation will be introduced for small stores three years later.