Scottish tobacco retailers must now sign up to a new register or face jail time and fines of up to £20,000.

The new Register of Tobacco Retailers was launched on April 1 under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, as part of a wider revamp of tobacco sales law. Retailers can register for free and have until October 1 to do so.

The Act also introduces the new offence of proxy purchasing and underage purchasing.

Scottish public health minister Shona Robison said the measures would make it more difficult for children to obtain cigarettes.

South of the border, the Department of Health (DoH) is currently gathering research on the sources of tobacco to children, although health minister Anne Milton said the government had no current plans to make proxy purchasing a criminal offence.

"The DoH has been working closely with local government regulation and council trading standards officers who have been collecting information on the level of proxy purchase of tobacco products," she said.

"Future policy options will be considered in the light of evidence gained," she added.