Appeal judges have rejected a legal challenge by Imperial Tobacco on Scottish government plans to ban tobacco displays in shops and sales from vending machines.

Imperial Tobacco had claimed the measures were beyond the legislative competence of Holyrood.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said he was “delighted that the court has upheld the ruling”, and claimed the display ban would help “prevent the children of today becoming tomorrow’s smokers”.

Imperial Tobacco’s head of UK corporate & legal affairs Colin Wragg said he was disappointed with the ruling. Imperial Tobacco has six weeks to appeal the decision.

“The judgement is 138 pages long so it will take some time for us and Counsel to analyse it and consider the merits of any appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said. “It should be noted that this ruling does not affect Sinclair Collis’ on-going vending challenge. Our vending challenge in Scotland is concerned with the substance of the existing law rather than whether it is a matter reserved to Westminster. Today’s decision means that the vending appeal hearing will go ahead as currently scheduled in May.”

The tobacco display ban for large stores was set to come into force in Scotland on April 1, however the government postponed the implementation date until it had notified the European Union of the revised regulations and Imperial’s legal challenge had been resolved.

Last month, the Scottish government increased the size of the requested display area in stores, allowing 1,000sq cm of space rather than the original 120sq cm to be displayed when stocking up or following a request from a customer.