TOBACCO DISPLAYS AND ADVERTISING – COUNTDOWN TO NEW REQUIREMENTS
From 1st July 2016, with certain practical exceptions, it will be against the law for retailers to openly display tobacco products.
This new requirement applies to all businesses selling tobacco products to the public, not just to shops, but also to ‘on-trade’ licensed premises, such as pubs and clubs.
It will also be illegal to sell tobacco products from vending machines (automatic machines) and for service providers in the Isle of Man to advertise tobacco products on the internet.
Businesses should already be taking steps to ensure compliance and make their staff aware of the new requirements.
This is not a ban on sales of tobacco products. Customers should still be able to buy their tobacco products where they do now, but they will not see tobacco products on open display. Retailers will have to keep tobacco products where they are not visible to customers, except in limited circumstances, such as when serving them to customers aged 18 and over, during restocking or during training.
In the absence of open displays of tobacco products, customers aged 18 or over will still be able to request their usual brand or a price list at the point of sale. Retailers will be permitted to display one A3 poster and can also display prices on the covered shelving or front of storage units.
Non-compliance with any of the new requirements will be a criminal offence. Any person found guilty of an offence is liable to a substantial fine and/or a prison sentence of up to two years.
While the OFT would obviously prefer to work with businesses to ensure compliance, enforcement action will be taken if any business is found to be flagrantly disregarding the new requirements.
For more information about the new requirements, including a pictorial guide and a question and answer guide, visit the OFT website or contact the OFT on 686500.