Shops warned about new tobacco law

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West Yorkshire Trading Standards is urging retailers to be aware of a new law that comes into effect on April 6.

From that date it will be illegal for traders to display cigarettes and tobacco and the service is urging those involved with the retailing of such products to take action now so as not to get caught out by the new law.

Non compliance with the new law is a criminal offence and any person including shop managers and shop assistants found guilty of these offences is liable:

On summary conviction in a Magistrates’ Court to a fine up to a maximum of £5,000 or imprisonment for up to six months or both.

On conviction on indictment in the Crown Court to imprisonment to a term not exceeding 2 years, a fine, or both.

Not only will this law change affect the display of tobacco products it also changes the way in which tobacco products must be priced.

The Display Ban legislation permits only three types of price lists and labels for tobacco products. The legislation sets out that each of these must only use black Helvetica plain font, which is the same size throughout the list, with NO underlining, italics or other distinguishing emphasis. It will be an offence to display prices in any other way. Retailers must still ensure they comply with Price Marking Order Regulations which require the price of goods to be clearly displayed in-store.

David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “The tobacco display ban for smaller retailers comes into effect in April and is an important strand in stopping young people from taking up smoking. Larger retailers have had to comply with the same change to the law since 2012 and compliance levels have been high”

Coun Andrew Pinnock, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “Evidence shows that colourful and eye-catching tobacco displays in shops can promote the uptake of smoking by young people and undermine the resolve of adults who are trying to quit smoking. It is important to protect children and young people from the unsolicited promotion of tobacco products”.