In a move that could significantly reduce airport revenue, Scotland’s airport duty free shops are banishing cigarettes to the back rooms or to other separate and remote ‘tobacco’ areas.
The move to place cigarettes and cigars in remote areas comes as part of the Scottish Government’s crackdown on tobacco displays in a bid to discourage smoking, especially amongst young people. According to the regulation, starting from April, tobacco and smoking-related products are to be displayed in duty free shops in a separate ‘tobacco area’, which is not visible from any other part of the premises.
Glasgow airport’s duty free shop, which all passengers pass in order to reach their flights, removed its tobacco from view a week ago. Edinburgh airport, Scotland’s busiest airport, is set to follow in the next two weeks.
Prestwick airport’s duty free shop, run by Nuance, said that it had separated its tobacco displays with supermarket-style shutters in June. Out of sight and behind a partition, smokers will now have to access a separate part of the store to buy cigarettes. World Duty Free’s other Scottish store, in Aberdeen, will move its tobacco in 2015. This is in line with the provision for smaller shops that are covered by the second phase of the regulations.
Similar regulations and restrictions on tobacco display will be effective at duty frees south of the border in two years’ time, the Scotsman says in its online report.
A spokeswoman for World Duty Free said: ‘Due to the complexities and access limitations for construction ‘on airport’, the process of building and installing the tobacco display areas (TDAs) is a lengthy one.
‘We have completed the TDA in our Glasgow airport store and are awaiting necessary site access permits to enable us to complete the TDA in our Edinburgh airport store within the next fortnight.’
The move could have a major impact on the shops’ income, a portion of which is passed on to airports to fund improvements in place of rent. World Duty Free, which runs the stores at Scotland’s three busiest airports, has previously agreed that tobacco and alcohol sales were ‘crucial’.
Andrew Pentol, tobacco editor for Duty Free News International magazine, said: ‘Tobacco has long been considered a footfall driver in travel retail and duty free. Tobacco purchases often leads to purchases of other products such as fragrances and cosmetics. New regulations relating to tobacco in the UK will have a significant impact on sales in airports, but the implementation of special derogations in the form of tobacco display areas will limit some of the impact.’
Meanwhile, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ‘The tobacco display bans are the right step to prevent young people in Scotland from taking up smoking.’