Tobacco firms fight extra POS curbs

Tobacco manufacturers are taking legal action over a government proposal to restrict advertising in shops.

Members of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, including British American Tobacco, Gallaher and Phillip Morris, have applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the new regulations, which will limit cigarette advertising at point of sale.

The Government wants to see advertising in retail outlets reduced to one per store, regardless of how many display gantries it has.

Under the plans, the ad may not exceed the equivalent of an A5 sheet of paper, of which 30 per cent must be a health warning surrounded by a black border of between three and four millimetres.

Tobacco companies claim the policy would prevent effective communication with adult smokers who want a reasonable amount of product information.

They believe it would also make it difficult to introduce new products or for new companies to succeed in the marketplace.

Tim Lord, the chief executive of the TMA, said: "We consider that the regulations are disproportionate and illegal. They contain unreasonable restrictions on providing information at the point of sale and will inhibit competition.

"Regrettably, our attempts to resolve the matter through the Department of Health have come to nothing, so we have no option but to resort to legal action."

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