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Home \Legislation by Country \Scotland \  Summary
Last updated: July 13th 2015


The United Kingdom became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on March 16, 2005.

Smoke Free Places: Smoking is prohibited in public transportation and virtually all indoor public places and workplaces. There are a few limited exceptions to the smoking ban. Specifically, smoking is permitted in designated rooms in adult hospices, adult care homes, psychiatric hospitals, and units; designated hotel rooms; detention or interview rooms; offshore installations; laboratory rooms; and HM Submarines and ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: Tobacco advertising and promotion is generally prohibited subject to a few exceptions, such as: at limited points of sale, direct person-to-person communications, and retailer incentive programs. Point-of-sale tobacco advertising is prohibited in large and small retail shops, although permitted inside specialist tobacconists for tobacco products other than cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco. Display of tobacco products is prohibited in large and small retail shops, although permitted, subject to some restrictions, in specialist tobacconists, bulk tobacconists, and duty-free shops. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Rotating text-only warnings are required to cover 30 percent of the front of the package, and rotating combined picture and text warnings are required to cover 40 percent of the back of the package. Warnings must be enclosed by a border, which brings the total size of the warning area to 43 percent of the front surface and 53 percent of the back surface. Misleading packaging and labeling, which could include terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited. Plain packaging of tobacco products is currently not required, although the UK government has initiated the process of developing a plain packaging policy. 

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: The Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 prohibits smoking in “no smoking premises” and authorizes regulations to designate enclosed and substantially enclosed premises as “no smoking premises.” The Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006, issued under the authority of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005, specify premises where smoking is prohibited and premises where smoking rooms may be allowed. The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 and the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 provide definitions that are applicable to the ban on smoking contained in the Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises Regulations 2006. Prisons and air navigation are not regulated under the Smoking, Health and Social Care Act 2005. For prisons, the Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules regulate smoking; and for air navigation, the Air Navigation Order 2009 applies. Certain guidance documents, including Guidance on Smoking Policies for the National Health Service, Local Authorities, and Care Service Providers, 2005 and the Enforcement Protocol, offer guidance on implementation and enforcement of smoke free provisions; however these documents are not legally binding.

Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is governed by laws that apply across the UK and laws that apply in Scotland only. The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 (“TAPA”) governs tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in the UK other than on broadcast media. Certain provisions of TAPA specify that they apply to parts of the UK only. TAPA was amended by: 1) the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion 2002 etc. (Amendment) Regulations 2006, which added provisions to specifically address information society services such as the internet, and 2) the Health Act 2009, which authorized regulations on product display and vending machines. Many of the Health Act 2009 amendment provisions apply in England, Northern Ireland and Wales only. Schedule 4 of the Health Act 2009 amends TAPA to make sections 6(1) and 8(1) of TAPA applicable in Scotland only. The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Brandsharing) Regulations 2004, which were issued under TAPA and apply in the UK, prohibit brand sharing and reverse brand sharing. Scotland issued the following regulations under TAPA: 1) The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Specialist Tobacconists) (Scotland) Regulations 2004, which regulate advertising in specialist tobacconist shops in Scotland, and 2) The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Point of Sale) (Scotland) Regulations 2004, which have since been repealed.

The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (“TPMS”) applies in Scotland only. The Sale of Tobacco (Display of Tobacco Products and Prices etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 prohibit the display of tobacco products and tobacco advertising at most points of sale.  These regulations also regulate incidental and requested display of tobacco products and display of tobacco product prices in retail shops. Other regulations issued under the TPMS Act 2010 include: 1) The Sale of Tobacco (Display of Warning Statements) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (regulating signs regarding sales to minors); 2) The Sale of Tobacco (Registration of Moveable Structures and Fixed Penalty Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (regulating registration of tobacco retailers); and 3) The Sale of Tobacco (Prescribed Documents) (Scotland) Regulations 2013.

Broadcast media is regulated by the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, which prohibits tobacco advertising on broadcast media regulated by Ofcom (TV, radio, and mobile phones).  The paid placement of tobacco products on TV and on-demand programs is prohibited by the Audiovisual Media Services (Product Placement) Regulations 2010 and unpaid depiction of tobacco product or smoking is restricted by the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

The packaging and labeling of tobacco products is governed by the Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) Regulations 2002, which were amended by the Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 to require picture warnings. These regulations were issued under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which makes it an offense to fail to give information required for a specific good.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

The materials and analysis available at this website are for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.