ACS: Government Must Consider Retail Impact of Standardised Tobacco Packaging

ACS has committed to pressing the Government to consider the significant burden that standardised tobacco packaging will impose on tens of thousands of local shops. Today, Ministers have published the consultation on introducing this measure in the UK.

In a consultation published here and in a written statement to the House of Commons, the Government has stated that it ‘has not yet made a final decision on whether to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products.’ However the consultation includes a complete draft of the proposed regulations to bring in standardised packaging.

The consultation which will run for six weeks (closing on the 7th August 2014) seeks views from:

  • businesses and other organisations on the likely impact of standardised tobacco packaging, especially any information that has arisen since the 2012 consultation on this measure
  • all on the draft regulations which set out in detail what the rules would be across the whole of the UK.

ACS has consistently opposed standardised packaging setting out clearly the evidence that imposing standardised packaging will:

  • increase the time it takes to serve customers;
  • make it harder for retailers to accurately control their stock and place orders
  • lead to the commoditisation of tobacco, as demonstrated by the experience in Australia, where smokers are switching to cheaper products and reducing the amount of money they spend on tobacco rather than reducing the amount of tobacco they consume.
  • provide even greater opportunities to illegal trade, that already makes up one-tenth of cigarettes and a third of the hand rolling tobacco in the UK.

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “Ministers have consistently failed to accept the evidence about how disruptive and burdensome recent tobacco control measures have been for the tens of thousands of retailers that have to actually implement them. We will continue to make the strong case against the reckless introduction of this measure by explaining the ways in which this measure will impact on retailers.”

Mr Lowman also explained retailers’ concerns about the introduction of this measure at the same time as the ban on retail display of tobacco, he said:

“One of the main reasons given for introducing a tobacco display ban was that brands needed to be hidden from children. Now the Government is proposing to remove those brands, yet the tobacco display ban is going ahead at an average implementation cost of £1,000 per store. There is no need for both these measures to be imposed, and this makes a mockery of the Government’s continued rhetoric about reducing the burden of regulation on business.”

This entry was posted by Chris on Thu, 26/06/2014 - 09:00