The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has written to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills explaining the harm that plain packaging could cause the UK retailing industry.

The letter, which accompanies the ACS’ submission to the Chantler Review, says that there has been “no significant evidence” of plain packaging having reduced tobacco consumption in Australia where the policy was implemented in December 2012.

However, the measure has led to increases in costs for retailers and a rise in the increase illicit tobacco trade.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Plain tobacco packaging would bring costs and operational problems for retailers. In Australia, where a ban has already been introduced, nine out of 10 small retailers have experienced an increase in the time taken to serve customers and almost half incurred additional training costs since the introduction of the legislation.

The ACS also highlighted concerns over the possibility of plain packaging being introduced as early as next year - when the display ban is also set to come into force for small shops on April 6.

Introducing both measures would “create significant burdens for small retailers,” Lowman added.  

The government will make a decision on whether to impose plain packaging after paediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler publishes his report later next month.