Holyrood has voted to ban the display of cigarettes. The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill also bans cigarette vending machines, and requires those who sell tobacco to register.

The proposal faced the usual protests from the the tobacco manufacturers association, and, of course, the Tories. It’s always nice to see the party of family values campaigning for the rights drug dealers. Then, I suppose they wouldn’t want to incur the wrath of the next business secretary.

According to the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, there is no evidence that the measure will stop any young people from smoking. Which is strange, because if it won’t stop anyone smoking, then why are the tobacco manufacturers association campaigning against it in the first place?

The evidence that this will actually stop young people smoking just isn’t there. — John Drummond, Scottish Grocers’ Federation

It is, of course, extraordinarily difficult to estimate how many lives this will save. ASH Scotland reckon 15,000 young people take up smoking every year. Let’s hope it’s a few fewer come 2011.