Retailers north of the border will have to register with the Scottish government to sell cigarettes, as part of a raft of smoking legislation coming in to force next year.
Under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act, it will be compulsory for retailers who sell cigarette to sign up to the free national register from April 1st 2011.
Other laws being introduced in Scotland next year include stricter advertising regulations and the banning of the sale of cigarettes from vending machines.
Scotland’s 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.”
Last year trading standards officers in the Perth and Kinross area of the country found a huge 28 per cent of retail premises selling tobacco to underage children.
Despite this obvious problem, many retailers may not welcome added regulations on an industry already under considerable pressure.
In November retail sales stagnated in the country according to the Scottish Retail Consortium, and 2010 has seen only two months of annual growth in terms of trade so far.
Additional legislation on Scottish retailers was already introduced early this year, when new rules controlling the sale of knives and sharp implements was created.
Robison added: “But we are 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 1st onwards.”