Dear Editor, (Re Graeme Brown’s article Retailers warn of tobacco black market) It seems to me Graeme Brown’s article was unhelpfully one-sided.
His article failed to point out the fact that the Tobacco Retailer’s Alliance is supported by Britain’s biggest tobacco companies and it has been running a long campaign to alarm small retailers. This has included full-page advertisements in the trade press to convince retailers that they will lose business to larger competitors and smugglers if a display ban is made law.
Experience from Ireland shows that complying with the legislation has not been expensive and sales to adults haven’t been affected.
As for an increase in smuggling, in Ireland sales of duty-paid cigarettes remain unchanged.
Since the tobacco advertising ban of 2003, displays have become one of the most valuable means tobacco manufacturers have to promote their products. But research shows they can help to trigger relapse among smokers trying to quit and that they contribute to youth smoking. The tobacco industry depends on recruiting new young smokers and that is why they will fight this law tooth and nail
No one would blame small shopkeepers from wanting to protect their business especially in the current economic climate, but the fact is that they are wrong in thinking that placing tobacco products out of sight will damage their business. The evidence simply does not support this.
Tobacco Control Programme Manager
Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Partnership