Documents to download

The tobacco control provisions in the Health Act 2009 (HA 2009) aim to reduce smoking uptake among children whilst supporting those people who smoke and want to quit. Section 21 of the Act inserts new sections 7A and 7B into the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 (TAPA 2002) which prohibit tobacco displays in large and small shops in England and Wales.

Section 7A(1) of the TAPA 2002 provides that a person who in the course of a business displays tobacco products, or causes them to be displayed, in a place (as specified in regulations) is guilty of an offence. Section 7B(3) allows the appropriate minister to provide in regulations that no offence is committed if the display complies with requirements specified in the regulations.

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010 (known as the “Tobacco Display regulations”) were made under powers given to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by sections 7A and 7B of the TAPA 2002. The Regulations, which deal with the practicalities of shops implementing the prohibition of tobacco product displays, were amended by the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display and Specialist Tobacconists) (England) (Amendment) regulations 2012. In brief, the Regulations:

• Enable retailers to make temporary, limited size displays on request when selling a tobacco product to a customer aged 18 or over.
• Provide for low-cost solutions to be used in covering tobacco displays in shops.
• Permit bulk-tobacconists to display tobacco in designated tobacco display areas.

The Regulations came into force on 6 April 2012 for large shops and on 6 April 2015 for all other shops.

The requirements for specialist tobacconists are set out in separate regulations, the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Specialist Tobacconists) (England) Regulations 2010 (known as the ‘Specialist Tobacconists Regulations’) as amended by the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display and Specialist Tobacconists) (England) (Amendment) regulations 2012. Under these Regulations, specialist tobacconists can display and advertise tobacco products inside their shops provided they are not visible from outside.

Conversely, there are no measures to regulate the display of vaping products in large and small shops in the UK. Vaping products with colourful brand packaging are openly and prominently displayed on countertops, at till points, and in eye-catching display towers on the shop floor of supermarkets.

On 11 April 2023 the Government launched a call for evidence to help identify opportunities to reduce the number of children (those under 18) accessing and using vaping products, while ensuring they are still easily available as a quit aid for adult smokers. On 4 October 2023, the Government published Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation. In this policy paper, the Government raised concerns about the number of children who were vaping and made clear that “marketing vapes to children was utterly unacceptable”. The Government said it was considering bringing forward legislation on point of sale displays of vaping products in shops.

This briefing sets out in detail the scope and extent of the prohibition of tobacco displays in shops and the treatment of specialist tobacconists. It outlines recent calls for tighter regulation of the display of vaping products in shops of all sizes to protect children. Finally, it considers the Government’s decision to consult on possible new legislation to regulate displays of vaping products in retail outlets as set out in its October 2023 policy paper.

Further Library research is available on the tobacco and vaping hub.

Documents to download

Related posts