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May 6th, 2009:

Peers Back Ban on Tobacco Displays

Wednesday, May 6

The Government has seen off an attempt to throw out plans to ban tobacco displays from shops.

6637903Peers have backed plans to ban shops displaying tobacco products
Peers voted by 204 to 110, majority 94, against the Tory ammendment to the Health Bill under which shops in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be prevented from displaying tobacco products from 2013.

Baroness Thornton, for the Government, described the measure as “another important step to a tobacco-free world and one where children are protected and people who want to give it up are supported”.

Earl Howe, for Tories, said that research from the Government showing the ban would deter young people from taking up smoking was “shot through with weaknesses and leaps of logic”.

He told peers: “There are about 50,000 corner shops in the UK. The organisations representing these corner shops have told me of their acute worry that a point-of-sale ban on the display of tobacco will do serious harm to their trade. The level of concern is very, very high.”

Lord Howe said selling cigarettes was crucial to create “footfall” in corner shops. “People who come in to buy cigarettes typically buy other things as well with a higher profit margin,” he said.

“If those people cease to patronise small shops the effect on trade in these outlets could well be terminal.”

He added: “In Iceland since the tobacco display ban came into force 30% of small shops have closed.

“In Canada where the display ban is in force almost everywhere, dozens are closing every week.

“In Ontario alone where a ban was introduced only in June 2008, 765 convenience stores have closed permanently, that is 8.6% of the total.”