Retailers opposed to the government’s plain packaging plans have less than three weeks in which to respond to its final short consultation.
The rapidly closing window of opportunity comes as a new Tobacco Retailers Alliance (TRA) survey reveals that 80% of retailers believe that plain packs will lose them sales as a result of slower transaction times. The survey of 257 retailers also found that 69% thought that plain packaging would see legitimate tobacco sales lost to the black market.
Closing on 7 August, the consultation could result in the banning of branded cigarette and rolling tobacco from May 2016.
Blackburn retailer and new TRA national spokesman Suleman Khonat urged his peers to oppose the plans by responding to the consultation. “All it takes is a quick email. It doesn’t need to be long – even just a couple of lines.
”All you need say is that you are against plain packaging because it will cause an increase in smuggling which will result in lost sales for us retailers. You can say more than this if you want, but as long as you get that basic point across then that’s brilliant.”
Retailers can get their voice heard in a number of ways.
Sign: A pro forma letter opposing the measure through the website www.noprimeminister.org.uk
Write: To local Members of Parliament at www.writetothem.com.
Imperial Tobacco’s head of UK corporate affairs Colin Wragg said it would respond to the consultation by “rigorously refuting the Chantler report findings that plain packaging will contribute to the Government’s public health objectives.”
“In Australia the evidence is plain – smoking prevalence has not decreased and illicit trade has increased by 20% since its introduction, now accounting for 13.9% of total consumption,” he added.