The Government-backed consultation on the future of tobacco control ends on September 8, so I hope you’ll forgive me commenting on it one more time.

By the time you read this I will have sent my submission to the consultation. Have you sent in yours? I know some of you have, and I know many others have signed our statement published in the last issue.

It’s good to have such a response, but it could still be stronger. I haven’t noticed any of the wholesalers or symbol groups up in arms about this proposal. I’m sure you are all backing ACS’ excellent submission, but that aside you’ve all been too quiet on the issue so far. How about a bit of passion on behalf of your customers?

And if you are a supplier, you know that cigarette purchasers buy other things as well when they are in-store – your products. Do you really want to support any measure which slows these shoppers down or drives them away? And if you make your living in the categories of alcohol, food containing salt or fat, or anything aimed at children, don’t relax just yet, because you’ll be next.

Which leaves the retailers. If you haven’t sent anything in yet, why not? Too busy? Well, if the proposal to ban gantry displays goes through, you will get busier. Twice as busy, in fact, for the same volume of sales, according to independent retailer Kishor Patel’s study (see news p4).

In a market where it is proving difficult to keep costs down and to get ahead financially, you are fortunate indeed if you can afford the extra costs that this clumsy and unfair proposal will impose on you. 

And if you don’t speak up now, it will be impossible to stop.