Q Where do you see the tobacco category in 10 years' time?

A About one in four UK adults currently choose to smoke and they have continually demonstrated their resilience when faced with the never-ending restrictions that have been imposed on the tobacco category over the past decade.

For that reason, Imperial Tobacco remains very upbeat about the future of the tobacco market. In 10 years' time the category will still be an important part of the retail mix for convenience stores and we are constantly monitoring the market to ensure that the brands within our portfolio meet the continually evolving preferences of adult smokers. This is something we have demonstrated in the past year with the launches of the JPS Silver Range and Golden Virginia Yellow.

Q Will Imperial Tobacco support small independent retailers in making the necessary changes to their gantries after the a ban on the display of tobacco products?

A If the UK government is intent on introducing such unnecessary and ill-conceived legislation then the Government should be prepared to pay for retailers to implement it.

Q I only have a small tobacco gantry and am located near to a large supermarket, will tobacco still be a viable category for me after the ban?

A Yes. Under the Government's proposed timeline, small independents will have until 2013 to display tobacco products, which is two years after the supermarkets will have removed their products from display. Adult smokers will be able to clearly see that their local store still stocks tobacco and it will continue to be a footfall driver.

Q What more can tobacco manufacturers do to help retailers combat underage sales?

A Imperial Tobacco does not want children to smoke and we currently support the No ID No Sale campaign. No ID No Sale packs contain the statutory notice, a refusals register and Citizencard applications which can be used to encourage their customers to obtain photographic proof of age. If retailers require additional packs they should speak to their local Imperial Tobacco representative or visit www.noidnosale.com.

Q Would Imperial support the establishment of a standard national staff training programme?

A Imperial Tobacco has a long track record of offering tobacco retailers high levels of support, advice and information to enable them to effectively manage the tobacco category in their businesses. We would analyse any further opportunity to do this and would need to see more details of any proposed staff training programme before making a decision on whether to get involved.

Q I am aware of black market sellers operating in my area. What can I do about this?

A Retailers should raise any suspicions with Trading Standards, or contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on 0800 595 000.

Q What more can be done to crack down on the black market in tobacco?

A Imperial Tobacco has a strong and long-standing working relationship with HMRC and we are totally committed to tackling the problem of the illicit tobacco trade. We have a dedicated team of specialists operating internationally in conjunction with customs authorities to help disrupt the supply and sale of illicit tobacco product. However, we believe far more resources need to be given to Trading Standards to be able to tackle the problem more effectively.

Q I've still got stock with text only health warnings what can I do about this?

A It became illegal to sell cigarette packs without picture health warnings on the reverse from September 30, 2009. These packs must be removed from sale. It is still legal to have other tobacco products with text warnings only until September 30, 2010. Retailers should continue to rotate their stock of other tobacco products and can get more information from their Imperial Tobacco representative, or can email us at tradecommunications@uk.imptob.com, or visit www.imperial-trade.com.

Q If the government was really interested in preventing people from smoking then why can't it raise tobacco prices so that retailers can make a respectable profit on return, such as in Canada where retailers have a 20% margin?

A The trade margins available on Imperial Tobacco brands are competitive. Indeed, on some products, such as Rizla rolling papers,. margins of 50% can be achieved. It must be remembered that 75-90% of the rrp of UK tobacco products goes to HM Treasury in the form of taxation, and UK tobacco taxes remain amongst the highest in the world.