A new trade guide for independent retailers and wholesalers selling tobacco has been produced by the leading industry trade associations - the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) and the Scottish Grocers' Federation (SGF) - to help the industry fully comply with the new changes to tobacco display requirements included in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010.

The 'Fingertip Guide to the New Tobacco Display Laws' has been published by the SWA and SGF in partnership with leading tobacco companies JTI, Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco. It will also be available via an iPhone/iPad app in due course.

Acknowledged by the Scottish Government, the new guide - a comprehensive reference guide to the legislation governing the display of tobacco in independent retailers and wholesalers in Scotland - is designed to help the industry understand the law and, crucially, fully comply with the new legislation.

It outlines the legal 'Dos and Don'ts' covering the introduction of the new legislation. Shops with a selling area larger than 280 square metres are classified as a 'large shop' and therefore must fully comply with the law by 29 April 2013 while shops with a selling area smaller than 280 square metres are classified as a 'small shop' and must be fully compliant by 6 April 2015.

The new guide is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the law. Instead, it is an extremely valuable reference guide for retailers and wholesalers who should keep copies handy to allow them - and their staff - to refer to it at any given time. It is written in an easy-to-understand format and uses a Q&A approach, answering the questions that retailers and wholesalers will most likely want to ask.

John Drummond, chief executive of the SGF, said: "This is an extremely useful guide for our members as it provides invaluable assistance to retailers who may be unclear as to what their legal obligations are. It provides an easy-to-understand reference using a simple Q&A format to cover all the key points and areas of uncertainty.

"Most retailers are highly responsible and will welcome the information included in the guide as they strive to come to terms with the new legislation and train their staff accordingly. While we don't believe that the tobacco display ban is necessary it is our duty to steer our members through it and provide them with robust information that will help them comply."

Echoing his comments, Kate Salmon, executive director of the SWA, said: "Our industry must accept this new legislation and work in partnership to make the transition as seamless as possible for Scotland's independent retailers and wholesalers.

"As we point out in the introduction to the guide, the changes do require some understanding so the purpose of this 'fingertip' guide is to help traders understand the law and answer all the questions likely to arise in order to help businesses operate both legally and profitably."

The 'Fingertip Guide to the New Tobacco Display Laws' was compiled byScott Brady LLB MBA, the SWA's independent adviser and lobbyist.

It is the second such collaboration by the two trade associations. In 2011, the SGF and SWA published 'The Alcohol Act Explained - A Guide to the Legislation', a comprehensive reference guide to the licensing legislation governing the sale of alcohol via off-licences in Scotland key changes to licensing legislation taking effect from 1 October 2011.

"It makes sense to collaborate in this way and the SGF has been delighted to once again work with the SWA and the manufacturers involved in the production of the guide," said Drummond. "For many time-poor retailers, particularly the smaller operators, any type of legislation can be a minefield so the SGF and SWA, fully supported by the tobacco industry, have decided to make it as easy as possible for independents to be armed and ready to comply with the new tobacco display laws."

Salmon added: "By collaborating with another trade association on issues such as this we give our industry a stronger, louder voice. We are delighted to have been able to work in partnership with our colleagues at the SGF on this second major project - this new publication for independent retailers and wholesalers is a prime example of ways in which we hope to further collaborate in the future."

The app for iPhone/iPad will be available for download shortly. It can be downloaded by searching 'Tobacco Displays Scotland' on the Apple App Store. The digital version of the 'Fingertip Guide to the New Tobacco Display Laws'contains four pages of specially prepared questions and answers addressing the requirements for Duty Free shops and specialist tobacconists.