Retailers across Scotland and Wales are still paddling against a tide of confusion surrounding plans for a tobacco display ban.
Both countries have recently confirmed that they are to delay implementing their bans, but a number of other questions still remain unanswered.
Earlier this month, retailers in Wales learned that they would be given more time to prepare for a display ban, however, it is still unclear whether the staggered implementation dates between large and small stores will be preserved.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), which was instrumental in securing the delay, urged the Welsh Assembly Government to reveal its intentions. “The ban will disproportionately affect smaller stores and it is vital that they are given additional time to achieve compliance,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, where the ban’s implementation has also been pushed back, retailers still face the prospect of working with a requested display area of just 120sq cm unlike tobacco retailers in England and Wales who will now be able to display up to 1.5sq m when serving adult customers.
Scottish independent retailer Geoff Barrett of Barrett’s News, Glasgow, urged retailers to write to their local MSPs to call for greater parity on the situation, before the final regulations are published later this year.
“While it’s great news that the Scottish government wants its tobacco display ban to come into force at the same time as the rest of the UK, it’s very unfair that retailers in Scotland will be able to show only a tiny portion of display compared with an A3-sized segment everywhere else,” he said.