The Tobacco Retailer’s Alliance has called on the government to introduce a limit on the amount of tobacco that can be brought back into the UK after Brexit, as part of a series of recommendations aimed at tackling illicit tobacco.

Its 2018 A Fair Deal for Small Shops report outlines how the government can assist retailers in tackling illegal tobacco and retail crime.

Recommendations also include:

  • · Increasing penalties for those found guilty of selling illicit tobacco and introducing lower thresholds for naming and shaming offenders.
  • · Freezing tobacco duty until the government has commissioned a full and independent review
  • · Making landlords and landowners liable for illegal tobacco sales on their premises, including businesses that operate online – for example social media sites where illegal tobacco is offered for sale
  • · The government should conduct a review into the effectiveness of Trading Standards.
  • · The government should evaluate all tobacco control legislation affecting small and independent retailers and repeal all those negatively impacting retailers
  • · Repealing counterproductive EU regulations restricting the size of tobacco packs and vape tank sizes.

TRA national spokesman Suleman Khonat: “There have been significant changes to the tobacco market over the past year. With the introduction of plain packaging and the ban on smaller packs we are seeing a noticeable fall off in trade as smokers are seeking cheaper, often illegal alternatives elsewhere. Despite, these pressures tobacco remains a very important product category for small and independent retailers.

“We want the government to listen to retailers and comprehend the regulatory burden that we face. Illegal tobacco, retail crime and the burden of legislation on the small retailer are areas where we can make real progress if we take a considered approach, particularly as we begin the process of leaving the EU. This new report from the TRA provides the opportunity to deliver a mutually beneficial outcome.”