Tobacco display bans that mandate retailers to keep tobacco items out of sight are becoming increasingly common. This puts new demands on retailers regarding how they keep the tobacco items in their stores. Retailers that ignore the ban risk stiff fines.
Countries such as Canada, Russia, Norway, Ireland and the UK have adopted varying degrees of tobacco display bans. In the UK, it has been considered improper to display tobacco products in large stores and supermarkets since 2012. However, beginning in 2015, a ban on displaying such goods at the point of sale in all small stores across the UK has been introduced.
This new rule puts new demands on retailers with regard to how they keep the tobacco items in their stores. Retailers who ignore the ban risk stiff fines. In the UK, the penalty can be £5000 and/or jail time for up to two years. Let us explain the tobacco ban rules and give some examples of solutions that help you comply with the regulations.
What does the law say about the tobacco display ban?
- In the UK and in many other countries with similar bans, all tobacco products have to be covered up. Behind the cover, you can arrange your tobacco products however you like, as long as they are hidden from public view.
- The restrictions in the UK apply to all sales of tobacco including in supermarkets, small shops, pubs, and clubs.
- You may only show a customer your tobacco products if he or she is over age 18 and has made a request to purchase such a product, and, of course, while staff are actively performing necessary maintenance duties.
- The maximum area you are permitted to expose to the customer is 1.5 square meters.
- It is legal to display a poster which says that tobacco is sold in your store as well as show your customers a price list when they ask for it.
- All price lists for tobacco products must use Helvetica plain font and are not allowed in any format larger than A3.
- The only information that is permitted on the list or poster are the brand names and prices of the products.
- If a customer asks about your tobacco range, you are allowed to show them a price list with pictures.
- Price labels are allowed for each product on the covered storage.
What are the possible retail solutions for the tobacco display ban?
The tobacco display ban does not describe any details of the cover-up. Therefore, it is possible to cover your tobacco range with a curtain that hides it completely.
Another common solution is sliding doors retrofitted to a tobacco display unit.
Non-visible storage solutions
There is also a possibility to have the tobacco merchandise placed under or over the counter, as long it is invisible to customers.
A loss prevention solution
With a loss prevention solution, for example Vensafe, you can easily comply with the display regulations. Customers can choose the item they want to buy from a touch screen, pay for it at the checkout where also the age of the customer is verified, and the product is then dispensed from a cabinet.