Display Ban

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The Tobacco Display Ban is legislation that prohibits shops and other public venues from openly displaying tobacco products.

  It has applied to larger stores and supermarkets since 2012 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; and from 2013 in Scotland. From the 6th April 2015 the Display Ban will extend to cover all smaller shops and convenience stores.

The Display Ban in practice

  • All tobacco products – cigarettes, cigars, hand rolling tobacco – have to be covered up. The only times a tobacco display can be uncovered are: (1) to serve customers aged 18 years or older who have requested to buy or see tobacco products; and (2) while staff are actively performing necessary maintenance duties such as stock-taking, restocking, staff training, cleaning the gantry etc.
  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you are allowed to reveal no more than 1.5m2 (about 10 shelves on a 1m2 gantry) worth of tobacco products at a time. Tobacco accessories, such as cigarette papers, lighters, matches, etc. can be displayed anywhere, anytime, in or out of sight. However, if you are looking for one of these accessories only, you are not allowed to expose tobacco while doing so.
  • In Scotland, you will be able to reveal no more than 1m2 (about the length of 8-12 pack-facings) worth of tobacco products at a time and the ban also applies to a list of “smoking related products”. This list currently includes cigarette papers, cigarette tubes, cigarette filters, apparatus for making cigarettes, cigarette holders and pipes for smoking tobacco products.
  • It is legal to display posters which indicate that tobacco is sold in your store, as well as a price list for your customers’ reference.
  • The new law does not specify how you should cover up your tobacco products. You could use a curtain, a shutter, or a sliding door. Alternatively, you could keep them on open shelves that only you and your staff can see – above or below the counter, facing away from customers’ views, for example.

What happens if you break the ban?

  • There are strict penalties for any retailer, shop manager or shop assistant who breaks the display ban. These are set out in our Display Ban Guide, along with more detailed information about the ban.

You can download a free copy of our display ban guide here.