Figures seen by The Scotsman show almost 90 per cent of respondents who replied to a Scottish Government consultation request oppose the measure.
Hardly surprising, since there is no evidence that display bans work and ample evidence that they put an unnecessary burden on shopkeepers.
Public consultations of this kind are not necessarily accurate barometers of public opinion (to put it mildly). As we saw in England, the only thing they measure is how well organised ASH and the NHS are in getting their staff and supporters to click on a website or return a generic postcard. In this particular instance, it seems they were not at all well organised.
Out of the 305 respondents to the Scottish Government consultation, 269 - 88.2 per cent - opposed the measure with support mostly coming from NHS trusts and anti-smoking charities.
Which means only 36 people responded positively to the proposal. Considering ASH Scotland alone employs 16 people, that is pretty feeble.
The opposition compares to 84 per cent support for the same measure in England...
Quite a disparity, no? And if you have read The Dark Market (free download), you will know why that is. It's because...
...75 per cent of respondents to that consultation came from Department of Health funded bodies.
So why couldn't DH-funded bodies in Scotland manufacture consent so effectively? Probably because they know that the Scottish government does what it wants regardless of public opinion. Back in 2005, a survey showed that two-thirds of Scots believed that pubs should be allowed to accommodate smokers. Then Health Minister, Andy Kerr, responded with these timeless words:
"We are not running government by opinion poll."
And the display ban was passed in Scotland with cross-party support long before the result of this consultation was published. So, really, what was the point?