The Scottish Grocer’s Federation (SGF) has hit out at proposals to give the Scottish government wide-ranging powers to ban the advertising of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs).

The proposals are contained in the new Health Bill currently being scrutinised by the Scottish Parliament Health Committee.

The powers could, for example, be used to prohibit or restrict the advertising of e-cigs on billboards, product displays, bus stops, posters, leaflets, banners, brochures and certain published material in Scotland.

Regulations could also prohibit or restrict unrelated branded products or services being used in e-cig branding, and vice versa.

In its submission to the Committee’s call for evidence on the draft Bill, SGF said it was vital that point of sale advertising should be exempt from any bans and that this should be made clear in the amended version of the Bill to be put before Parliament.

SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said: “We support many of the proposals in the draft bill, particularly on age restricting e-cigs: our members are fully committed to selling these products responsibly and already treat them as being age-restricted.

“However, it makes no sense to impose a ban on advertising: there is already an advertising code of practice and we need to develop the potential of nicotine vapour products to help people move away from tobacco.”

The Bill also seeks to amend the current Tobacco Retailers Register.

All retailers who sell e-cigs would have to register and those who are already registered to sell tobacco would have to update their registration if they also sell e-cigs.