ACS Calls for Tobacco Register Plans to Be Scrapped in Public Health (Wales) Bill Evidence Session

ACS has given evidence to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee on the Public Health Wales Bill, calling on plans for a tobacco register in Wales to be scrapped in favour of strengthening the existing sanctions available to enforcement authorities.

During the evidence session on the Bill, ACS acknowledged the significant negative impact that the illicit tobacco market has on both legitimate retailers and the Treasury, but suggested to the Committee that introducing a retailer tobacco register would not be effective in tackling the illicit trade.

Across the UK, the illicit tobacco market results in £2.4bn in lost revenue to the Treasury. There has been no evidence in Scotland, where a tobacco register has been introduced, that there has been a reduction in the prevalence of illicit tobacco as a result of the introduction of the tobacco register.

Speaking during the session, ACS Head of Public Affairs and Policy Edward Woodall said: “While we believe that more needs to be done to tackle the illicit trade, we do not believe that a tobacco register would be an effective measure. Trading standards officers need to make the most of the powers already available to them to reduce the problem of illicit tobacco. Compliance with tobacco regulations in the convenience sector is already very good, as shown by the successful implementation of the tobacco display ban. The current Scottish Tobacco Retail Register has seen very few retailers removed from the list as a result of non-compliance with tobacco, so we remain sceptical of its effectiveness.”

ACS’ recommendations made in a submission on the provisions of the Bill include:

  • More effective sanctions available to trading standards officers, including the revocation of alcohol licences for selling illicit tobacco.
  • Additional powers to trading standards officers to sanction retailers by using the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA).
  • Extension of the Restricted Premise Order to include illicit tobacco as an offence, creating a three strikes and you’re out system for illicit tobacco.

The Public Health Bill (Wales) proposes to introduce a register for retailers that sell tobacco.  Retailers could be charged £30 to register and an additional £10 per new store to go on the Tobacco Retailer Register.

ACS submitted written evidence to the Health and Select Committee during the initial consultation period, which is available here.

This entry was posted by Leah on Thu, 19/01/2017 - 14:01