Retail display ban

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Tobacco display ban or point of sale display ban is a measure imposed in some jurisdictions prohibiting shops and stores to display tobacco products.

Retail display bans have been tried in a handful of countries: Canada, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Thailand, Finland, Australia and New Zealand. The implementation differs, but the ban in most jurisdictions mandates that shops and stores that sell tobacco products keep the products out of sight of customers, under the counter, or in special cabinets. Tobacco products can only be shown on request from customers. The idea behind the regulation is that people would be less inclined to smoke if they can not see the products.

The results are debated. Opponents of the ban claim that the regulations have caused shops to close as a result of costs associated with the ban, and that the bans have caused the proportion of illegal or contraband cigarettes sold to increase. Following the ban in Canada, 27 per cent of cigarettes sold are contraband.[1] and 15 per cent of convenience stores have closed.[2] In Iceland 30 per cent of smaller shops have closed.[3] Studies at the same time shows that the ban has not been followed by decreases in smoking, on the contrary teenage smoking have in some cases, e.g. in Thailand, increased.[4]

Proponents of the ban claim that the stores have closed for other reasons and that the studies that show that smoking have not decreased are flawed.

On March 18, 2013, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a retail display ban for cigarettes.[5][6]

In the August 2010 issue of Pediatrics it is argued that youngsters that often visit tobacco stores smoke more often than their peers. However, the results can also be interpreted as people who smoke more often visit shops that sell tobacco products.

Country Notes and date of implementation
Australia Retail display ban now in all states and territories with the exception of specialist tobacconists
Canada Display ban now in place for all provinces and territories with Saskatchewan being the first in 2005. The most recent legislation coming into force in Labrador and Newfoundland on 1 January 2010. Ontario banned the display of tobacco products from 31 May 2008 and Alberta and British Columbia in the summer of 2008
Finland Display of tobacco products banned from 1 January 2012
Iceland First country in the world to implement a shop display ban for tobacco in 2001
Ireland First country in the EU to implement a display ban which came into effect on 1 July 2009
New Zealand Tobacco display ban came into force on 23 July 2012
Norway Since 1 January 2010 the display of tobacco products has been prohibited
Thailand Display ban came into effect in 2005
England A retail display ban for large shops (over 280 sq m) came into force on 6 April 2012 and for smaller shops on 6 April 2015
Northern Ireland A retail display ban for large shops (over 280 sq m) came into force on 31 October 2012 and for smaller shops on 6 April 2015
Wales A retail display ban for large shops (over 280 sq m) came into force on 3 December 2012 and for smaller shops on 6 April 2015
Scotland A retail display ban for large shops (over 280 sq m) came into force on 29 April 2013 and for smaller shops on 6 April 2015
Kosovo A full retail display ban came into force on 24 June 2013

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada, 2008 "Estimating the volume of contraband sales of tobacco in Canada"
  2. ^ PriceWaterhouseCoopers/HEC Montreal 2009 "Local Presence, national strength: Convenience stores in Canada"
  3. ^ The Telegraph "Government wins vote on banning tobacco products from shops" 2008-05-07
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Bloomberg’s Plan Would Make Stores Conceal Cigarettes". The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg bids to ban cigarettes and tobacco from being displayed in any stores". The New York Daily News. March 18, 2013. Retrieved March 19, 2013.