Helpful Questions and Answers
What does this mean for retailers?
The Act establishes a national register of tobacco retailers,
which will require all tobacco retailers to be registered in order
to sell tobacco. There will be one national register. This will
operate in conjunction with a fixed penalty notice scheme and the
ability for courts to impose tobacco banning orders.
You are required to register as a tobacco retailer. All
retailers wishing to sell tobacco products must register.
When can I register?
The registration scheme will come into effect on 1 April
2011. Retailers will have a full 6 months to register, from 1
April 2011 until 1 October 2011. Retailers can register at
any time over that period.
Why do I need to register?
Although the majority of retailers refuse to sell tobacco to
young people under 18 there is unfortunately a proportion that
will. The registration scheme gives a wider range of tools to
trading standards to better enforce age restriction laws whilst
keeping the costs to the public purse to an absolute minimum and
with the least possible administrative burden on retailers.
This will create a new offence that will assist in tackling
illicit tobacco sellers and help protect legitimate Scottish
businesses that sell tobacco. For the first time under tobacco
sales law, those found to be selling tobacco illicitly can be fined
up to £20,000 and sent to prison for up to six months.
What's the difference between a registration scheme and
a licensing scheme?
Whilst a licensing scheme has certain advantages it is also more
burdensome on local authorities and retailers, as the retailer has
to provide a sufficient level of information to allow the relevant
authority to determine whether a retailer should be allowed to sell
a product. A registration scheme merely requires a retailer to
notify authorities that they are selling a product and is,
therefore simpler and less costly to administer. The Scottish
Government has, on balance, opted for a registration scheme.
How will the fixed penalty notice scheme and banning
The Act gives powers to trading standards officers to issue
fixed penalty notices for offences contained in the Act, including
selling tobacco to under-18s, displaying tobacco products or not
being on the register. If a retailer has been found to be in
breach of tobacco sales legislation three times within a two year
period (either through a fixed penalty notice or a criminal
conviction) a local authority can apply to the courts to have the
retailer banned from selling tobacco. A court can ban a retailer
from selling tobacco for up to 24 months.
What are you doing about illicit sales?
For the first time under tobacco sales law, those found to be
selling counterfeit or smuggled tobacco can be fined up to £20,000
and sent to prison for up to 6 months.
How do I register?
Registration can be done quickly and easily in one of two
Online: Complete our web-based form
- Register on Paper : Download the
registration form (in pdf) or request a paper copy of the form
from the Scottish Government Tobacco Control.
Copies of the form can be downloaded online or can be requested
by calling 0131 244 2169 . In addition, printed forms are
available from trading standards within your local council.
What if I am unable to complete an on-line
Simply request a paper copy by contacting the Scottish
Government on 0131 244 2169, then send the duly completed form to
the Scottish Government, Tobacco Control Area 3 EN , St
Andrews House, Regent Road Edinburgh EH1 3DG.
Do I need to display the Registration
You do not need to display the certificate but it should be
retained and kept ready to hand for inspection purposes.
I own more than one retail premises do I need to
complete individual forms for each property?
No the system has the facility to enable you just to complete
one form and add additional premises in by following the
Do I need to pay to register?
No, registration is free.
Who can access the information on the
Key features of the register will include provision for relevant
parts of the register to be accessible to the general public on the
Internet. Local Authorities will also be able to access the
information contained in the register.
I am a specialists tobacconist does this apply to my
Yes it applies to all retailers who sell tobacco products and
includes mobile units and duty free shops for example.
Are "Members Clubs" required to register?
If the only type of tobacco transaction the club engages in is
in the supply of cigarettes to its full members then it will not
require to be registered. If however the club also admits
non-members or those who have less than full membership (such as
temporary members) and makes available tobacco products for
purchase e.g. at the bar or in a club shop or through a
vending machine then it will be required to register since it will
be selling tobacco by retail.
I am a trade tobacconist does this apply to my
The Act only applies to persons carrying on a tobacco
business. "Tobacco business" is defined in the Act to mean "a
business involving the sale of tobacco products by retail".
If no part of your business involves retail trade, then you do not
require to be registered.
Who will enforce the laws?
Enforcement will be carried out by your local council's trading
What happens after a person is removed from the
A person who is registered with the Scottish Government and who
commits 3 breaches of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services
(Scotland) Act 2010 within a two year period will be removed from
the Register. The period of removal will be determined by the
Court but can be up to 12 months.
- If a person has more than one premises registered, only the
premises to which the conviction relates will be removed from the
- Tobacco products cannot be sold from the premises to which the
conviction relates for the period of time determined by the
Court. A person must display a banning order notice in a
prominent position for the period of the ban
- Following the period of removal, retailers who wish to resume
selling tobacco products must submit a new application.
What if my details change?
To keep the register up to date you are required to notify the
Scottish Government of any changes in your particulars such as a
change in a person's name or address or the fact that the person is
no longer carrying on a tobacco business at an address noted in the
person's entry in the Register. You can update
your registration details online if you have registered
Where can I get further information?
You can contact the Scottish Government Tobacco
Control Branch on 0131 244 2169 for advice on the
Register or any other provision of the Act.
We only require one contact number for the registrant. We
only require one contact who will co-ordinate the response from all
the company that is applying for all their Premises that are
There is no need for VAT number
What if the Parent Company is registered outside of
It is not an issue if the company applying for the certificate
is a parent company outwith Scotland. If there are any Premises
within Scotland, they need to be registered by whatever company
Head Office versus Outlet?
In the vast majority the Head office will complete on behalf of
outlets. We suggest that if in doubt they should contact
their Head Office to establish if the outlet details are being
Who needs to have the Certificate?
It is only the registrant that will need to have the
certificate. Individual premises do not. i.e. a registrant is not
then sending certificates out to each of their uploaded
What is the Floor Area Definition?
It is the area used for retailing to consumers.
In case of tenants do you put tenants company name or premises
licence holder details?
Any person who carries on a business involving the sale of
tobacco products by retail must be on the register. It will
be the applicant's name which goes onto the register. The
answer to the question who should apply is that it is the person
(individual or corporate) who carries on the tobacco
retail business. So who owns the tobacco, retails it to
consumers and takes the profits.
Therefore, the tenant registers as it is they that are carrying
out the retail business not the landlord.
Do Vending Machines need to be registered?
Had the ban on automatic vending machine sales come into force
on 1 October as planned, there would not of course have been any
requirement for those businesses which retail tobacco through
automatic vending machines to register. Now that the
implementation date for the ban has been deferred, however, it will
be necessary to register in the same way that the Act requires
registration by anyone carrying on a business involving the sale of
tobacco by retail. If you wish to continue selling tobacco products
through automatic vending machines, you will require to register by
1 October 2011. Depending on the circumstances, it will be a
question of fact who the person carrying on the business retailing
tobacco products is but it will be for you to determine whether it
is you as the Cigarette Machine Operator, or the person in whose
premises the automatic vending machine is located, who requires to