Tobacco retailers in Scotland are being urged to register to sell cigarettes as there are now only 50 days until the introduction of new rules for Scotland’s tobacco retailers. New legislation designed to make cigarettes less available to under 18s will take effect on October 1.

Around 17,800 retailers in Scotland, including forecourts, will be required to sign up to the register.   It opens on April 1 and retailers will have until October 1 to register. Under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, retailers must register to sell cigarettes. All retailers will be posted registration packs during the week commencing 7 March with instructions on how to register and will also receive a selection of signs for staff and customers that they can display within their stores.

Registering will be simple and free and retailers will be able to sign up to the register either online at or by requesting a form from Trading Standards within each Council area. Retailers will then have until October 1 to complete the registration process. After this date, it will be illegal for retailers to sell tobacco products if they are not registered. Those found to be selling tobacco without having registered could be fined up to £20,000 and sent to prison for six months.

The new legislation is part of a raft of measures being introduced on April 1 to crack down on underage tobacco sales and underage smoking. From this date, it will also be an offence for:

-Anyone under 18 to buy or attempt to buy tobacco products or cigarette papers.
-Anyone under 18 who is in possession of tobacco products or cigarette papers in a public place to fail to comply with a request from the police to surrender these items or to supply a name and address.

-Anyone 18 or over to buy tobacco products on behalf of anyone under 18.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said:

“Too many people have died, or watched loved ones suffer, as a result of tobacco-related illnesses.

“There is no doubt that cigarettes cause harm and that’s why I believe it’s right that those who sell cigarettes should be registered, allowing trading standards officers to better enforce age restrictions and helping to crackdown on illicit sales.

“But we were also conscious of the need not to burden responsible retailers with needless bureaucracy. That’s why the registration process is simple to complete online and will be free of charge.

“I’d urge retailers now to make a date in their diary and ensure that they join the register from April 1 onwards.”