A spokeswoman for the DoH said that “several thousand small retailers” had written in to indicate their positions on some of its key issues, such as removing tobacco products from open display and banning 10-packs.
Retailers have also responded to Convenience Store’s ‘Keep Tobacco Over the Counter’ campaign and added their signatures to an online petition.
Last week the National Federation of Retail Newsagents added its voice to the debate in a 24-page response which called on government to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco products and look at making it an offence to purchase tobacco while underage, or to purchase on behalf of children.
The way in which the consultation has been conducted came in for criticism by some retailers, who said it was unfair it had not been available in other languages and that only written responses were accepted.
Asian retailer Mahendra Jadeja said: “Because you can give your views only in writing and in English, many Asian retailers have been put off. Also, most of us independent retailers work incredibly long hours, so finding the time to write a response is difficult.”
The DoH dismissed the claims. “No requests for translations of the consultation have been received and the issue has not been raised by trade bodies,” the spokeswoman added.
The final deadline for submissions to the consultation is September 8.