One of the world’s biggest tobacco firms today took a fight against a planned cigarette display ban to the UK’s highest court.
Imperial Tobacco challenged the Scottish government’s attempts to ban the open display of cigarettes in shops in Scotland at the Supreme Court in London.
Lawyers representing Imperial, which is based in Bristol, asked a panel of five Supreme Court justices to analyse issues after twice failing to persuade Scottish judges to set aside legislative provisions.
The hearing is due to end later this week and justices are expected to reserve judgment to a later date.
Ministers say display bans are needed to protect future generations from the “devastating effects” of smoking.
Imperial says there is no credible evidence that display bans have cut tobacco consumption.
The firm argues that the legislative provisions dealing with display bans fall outside the scope of the Scottish government and are matters reserved for the UK Parliament in London.
Imperial, the firm behind Lambert & Butler and Richmond cigarette brands, is also opposing a ban on tobacco vending machines.
The company’s civil court challenge has delayed the implementation of measures aimed at stopping people smoking.
Ministers had intended to introduce the display ban in large shops in Scotland - the first part of the UK to adopt a ban on smoking in public places – in April.