Retailers have "nothing to fear" from tobacco display ban

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Convenience retailers have “nothing to fear” from the tobacco display ban although they need to start budgeting for a no tobacco environment, according to the chief executive of Ireland’s Convenience Store and Newsagent Association.

Vincent Jennings said the experience of Irish retailers, who had witnessed a crackdown on the tobacco market over the past decade, suggested that their UK peers had no cause for concern when the display ban is implemented in small stores in 2015.

“You have nothing to fear from a display ban from a business and financial point of view. Forget the scaremongering, it will not cost a lot of money,” he said. “You need to understand the nature of the product. You have addicted people who need to buy a product. The government is not changing where the product is sold, it’s trying to encourage the next generation not to smoke.”

Speaking at the Association of Convenience Store’s recent Smart conference in Birmingham, Jennings urged retailers to end their reliance on tobacco. “We’ve become lazy in relying on it, and the gravy train will come to an end. It costs more than €1bn in Ireland to deal with the effects of tobacco, so of course the state will crack down on it, like any business would.”

He predicted that the government’s crackdown on tobacco use could eventually result in a replication of the Swedish scenario where state shops prescribed tobacco.

Fran Mente from the Department of Health’s tobacco control programme insisted that no decision had yet been made on plain packaging. “That’s the honest truth,” she said.

Readers' comments (3)

  • I cannot see the point of plain packaging as it is meant to stop youngsters taking up smoking, but children get their first cigarettes from friends and family. In any case it is illegal for shops to sell to anybody under 18.

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  • Is this guy for real or is he from a different Ireland to mine. I have lost plenty since the ban especially footfall and what do you think they do, they buy other things as well as cigs.

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  • Yes I agree with the general sentiment of the article. However it’s also important that we start to change our business model and start planning now so that we are less reliant on tobacco when the display ban comes into force in 18months time. Shops carrying over 30% of their turn over in tobacco need to start planning now in order to minimise the impact. Food to go & chill are two areas which are growing. Newspapers are in decline too and so the overall impact on businesses could be terminal for “old fashioned” news agents and I take no joy is saying this.

    Arjan Mehr Londis Bracknell

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