Speaking at the ACS Responsible Retailing Forum, Dockreall said: "Stopping people from smoking is only a little about law, and much more about hearts and minds."
He called on retailers to "get involved" in the Department of Health's consultation on tobacco control by explaining how rates could be reduced without the need for legislation, and the part they could play in doing this.
"We have made it illegal for kids to smoke, but we haven't made it unacceptable, and this is where education comes in," he added.
He also criticised the DoH's proposal to restrict sales of cigarettes in packs of 10. "People buy smaller pack sizes such as 10s when they are attempting to reduce their tobacco consumption and quit," he said. "If you wanted people to lose weight you wouldn't take away fun- sized chocolate bars and only sell jumbos. I'm with the retailers on this one."
Retailers have until September 8 to respond to the government's consultation.