Imperial Tobacco, one of the world's biggest cigarette firms, loses display battle

Ministers say the ban is needed to protect future generations from the "devastating effects" of smoking.

One of the world's biggest tobacco firms lost a Supreme Court fight today against a planned cigarette display ban.

The UK's highest court dismissed an appeal by Imperial Tobacco against the Scottish Government's attempts to ban the open display of cigarettes in shops.

At a hearing in London, lawyers representing Imperial, which is based in Bristol, asked a panel of five Supreme Court justices to analyse the issues after twice failing to persuade Scottish judges to set aside legislative provisions.

Ministers say display bans are needed to protect future generations from the "devastating effects" of smoking.

Imperial argues that there is no credible evidence that display bans have cut tobacco consumption.

Imperial, the firm behind Lambert & Butler and Richmond cigarette brands, also opposed a ban on tobacco vending machines.

It argued that the legislative provisions dealing with display bans fall outside the scope of the Scottish Government and are matters reserved for the UK Parliament in London.

The company's civil court challenge has delayed the implementation of measures aimed at stopping people smoking.

Ministers intended to introduce the display ban in large shops in Scotland - the first part of the UK to adopt a ban on smoking in public places - in April.

Imperial initially sought a judicial review of ministers' plans for display bans.

A judge in Scotland ruled against the firm in September 2010.

Imperial appealed but three judges rejected the challenge in February.

That decision was welcomed by Scotland's public health minister Michael Matheson, who said the proposals would play a "crucial role" in preventing youngsters from starting to smoke.

But Imperial voiced disappointment and appealed to the Supreme Court.

At the Supreme Court, Imperial argued that sections 1 and 9 of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 were "outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament".

Section 1 prohibits the display of tobacco products in a place where they are offered for sale and section 9 prohibits vending machines for the sale of tobacco products.

Today, the justices unanimously dismissed Imperial's appeal, ruling that the two sections "are within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament".

Announcing the decision of the court, Lord Hope said: "The purpose of section 1 is to enable the Scottish ministers to take steps which might render tobacco products less visible to potential consumers and thereby achieve a reduction in sales and thus in smoking.

"The purpose of section 9 is to make cigarettes less readily available, particularly (but not only) to children and young people, with a view to reducing smoking. The legal effect and short-term consequences are consistent with those purposes."

He said the court "does not see how it can be said that the purpose of sections 1 and 9 has anything to do with consumer protection".

Lord Hope added: "The aim of sections 1 and 9 is to discourage or eliminate sales of tobacco products, not to regulate how any sales are to be conducted so as to protect the consumer from unfair trade practices.

"The purpose of sections 1 and 9 also has nothing to do with the standards of safety to be observed in the production and sale of tobacco products.

"Sections 1 and 9 are designed to promote public health by reducing the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products, not to prohibit in any way their sale to those who wish and are old enough to purchase them."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game