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Scotland delays implementing tobacco display ban

LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland has delayed implementation of a tobacco display ban in supermarkets because of a change to the regulations and a legal challenge, the Scottish government said on Sunday.

Scotland proposes to make it an offence to display tobacco products in shops so as to dissuade young people from taking up smoking.

The Scottish government said it would however increase the area of cigarette storage units that may be displayed after retailers raised concerns.

"Following discussions with retailers, the need to notify the European Union of the revised regulations and an ongoing legal challenge by Imperial Tobacco, the Scottish government has decided to defer the ban's implementation date for large stores," the Scottish government said in a statement.

The ban had been due to take effect for large stores in April 2012. The Scottish government said a new date would be announced "in due course." The previously announced implementation date of 2015 for small stores remains in place.

England is introducing a similar ban on displaying tobacco products in retail shops.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft, editing by Maureen Bavdek)