The Grocer sounds a note of optimism about the tobacco display ban (conclusion so far unannounced), on the grounds that it would make no sense to introduce a display ban and plain packaging. Well I suppose that's optimism of a sort, although it doesn't challenge the self-styled supremacy of the Department of Health too much.
In case anyone misunderstands, the Department of Health has a place and position, in ensuring the delivery of health services. Ensuring the delivery of health is the responsibility of the Almighty, and the Department of Health shouldn't interfere with it. Removing tobacco displays on the vaguest chance that it might stop people smoking is ludicrous. Even if it succeeded in its objective of stopping people from smoking (there is very little reason to suppose it will), it doesn't guarantee that people will live more healthily. There are so many ways to live unhealthily, probably varying from person to person, that the task would be impossible.
That goes for Scotland too. They really don't understand the business they are trying to regulate, nor the need to have evidence and/or relevant ideas before they get stuck in. I love this quote from the Tobacco Retailers' Alliance website:
The idea that retailers should be discouraged from selling tobacco, and encouraged to sell other things in its place, is one that keeps coming up and I expect we’ll hear a lot more of it over the next few years. I once asked an official in the Scottish Government just what exactly retailers could sell in place of tobacco – what product would bring a hundred customers through a newsagent’s door every day, give him a profit equating to four Mars Bars per transaction and drive more add-on purchases than any other product category? After a long pause for thought, she shrugged her shoulders and replied, “Apples?”I had to check that there was actually a Cabinet Minster and government department responsible for business in Scotland. (It's John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth.) Someone should defend business interests in government against the combined policy interests of the Cabinet Minster for Health & Wellbeing and the Minster for Public Health and Sport – if nothing else, someone should be responsible for regulating business, so that the forces behind health and wellbeing can concentrate on health service provision, which is what we pay them for. But the Health & Sport Committee has taken the lead on regulating tobacco displays in shops. Has it really nothing better to do?