July 23, 2010 - Anonymous
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the Government’s decision to review an upcoming ban on tobacco displays in retail stores, warning the proposed reforms would cost around £1,800 per shop to introduce.
The Tobacco Authority and Promotion (Display) Regulations 2010, passed in March 2010, ban retailers from displaying tobacco products openly at the point of sale – for example, having cigarette packets in public view behind the counter. Currently, large retailers are due to implement the new laws by October 2011 and small retailers by October 2013.
The regulations were pushed through in the wash-up period of the last Government, but the Department of Health (DoH) has confirmed the ban is now under review.
ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said that small retailers would benefit from a repeal of the ban. “Our research, including detailed discussions with shop-fitters, shows the likely cost of installing flaps over existing gantries to hide cigarette displays will be more than double the Government estimates, at around £1,840 per store,” he said.
Lowman added that the ban would be ineffective, as there is no evidence that it would reduce youth smoking. “Figures from Canadian health authorities show that a similar ban there is having no effect on smoking behaviour among young people,” he said. “The Government must look at other measures that will bear down on smoking attitudes among this group.
“Action to remove this planned burden would save the industry in excess of £66 million and send a clear signal that this Government is serious about reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens,” added Lowman.
A DoH spokeswoman confirmed that the display ban was under review. “We are going to publish a White Paper on public health at the end of the year which will look at tobacco displays among other things, but it hasn’t been confirmed that the ban will be overturned,” she said. “It is being reviewed as an ongoing discussion across Government about public health.
“We are consulting with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and other business groups to see how going ahead with the ban would impact on retail,” she added.