Ireland’s smallest retailers are the biggest losers as a result of the recent tobacco display ban, findings from the ACS (Association of Convenience Stores) show.

A study of 100 independent retailers revealed that 43% of small convenience stores and 75% of CTNs and newsagents received no financial assistance towards altering their gantries when the ban was imposed on July 1.

The funding deficit meant that many were forced to implement cheap, unattractive, and potentially non-compliant ways of hiding their displays such as curtains and screens. Curtains had been used by 14% of convenience store retailers and 8% of CTNs, despite the fact that the law states tobacco must be stored in sealed containers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said the ban had resulted in widespread confusion and disruption for Irish retailers.

“There has been a repeated suggestion that retailers can expect tobacco companies to step in and foot the cost of the changeover,” he said. “However, our findings show that this is not the case.

“The display ban is a policy gimmick that imposes costs and disruption on local shops, affecting the smallest businesses the most. It distracts public policy from a range of measures that would bear down on youth smoking such as proper sanctions for adults who supply tobacco to children and tackling the pervasive illegal market.”