The Scottish government has been urged to go one step further to ensure retailers north of the border are not placed at an unfair disadvantage compared with their English counterparts when a tobacco display ban is imposed.

Earlier this month Scotland's public health minister Shona Robison said that Scotland's implementation dates would "mirror the English position," as outlined in the Department of Health's Tobacco Control Plan.

The confirmation of timescales was welcomed by Scottish retailers, who had been left in the dark about when they would need to comply with a ban after the dates were delayed following an ongoing legal challenge by Imperial Tobacco.

However, Robison failed to shed light on whether or not greater parity would also be granted with regards to how a display ban would look.

"Andrew Lansley MP announced that the size of the display allowed while serving customers in England will increase to 1.5sq m, while in Scotland the proposal is for an allowable display area of 120sq cm about the size of a packet of 20 cigarettes," Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive John Drummond said. "Small shops in Scotland must have parity with English retailers," he added.

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