Thursday, 17 December 2009

Cigarette Ban Unpopular with Shop Owners

By Ben Aulakh

A new government health act which will ban the open display of cigarettes in shops has been met with scepticism and dismay in four Birmingham convenience stores.

The legislation, which became law on the 12th October aims to reduce the number of young people smoking by removing tobacco from open display in retailers.

Mr Durai from Newbury Lane Convenience stores, Oldbury said, “It won’t stop them smoking, if they want to smoke they will go to any means to do it.

“Even when kids come to the shop and I won’t sell them to them, they get adults and parents to buy cigarettes for them.

He added, “Quite a lot of sales come from tobacco, about 30 to 40 per cent, one pack that I sell costs five pounds, if I sell a hundred that’s 500 pounds, that is half my sales.”

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has already highlighted its concerns that the act could have little effect on reducing youth smoking.

They are also concerned the act may increase retail crime and possibly cost some small retailers thousands in lost profits and replacing current displays.

Makha Singh from the BMP Stores, Smethwick expressed his concerns about the effects of the new law, “We will have to make something to put the cigarettes under the counter.

“But it worries me that when if I bend down to get a pack of 10, as soon as I take my eyes of the customer they will nick something.

Parminder Singh from the Western Stores in Birmingham echoed these views, “It will be bad for newsagents but it will not stop people smoking, they will smoke if you don’t display them, will smoke if they smoke, this won’t stop them.”

He added, “I can see problems if cigarettes are displayed under the counter, there is no room to do it, we can’t put the range under the counter, and people will loose a lot of custom and income.

The Department of Health is currently undertaking a 12 week consultation for organisations and shop owners to put their views forward on the new law.

The federation is currently contacting retail members encouraging them to make their feelings known, before the consultation period ends in February next year.

Jag from Queensway News and Booze in Birmingham said, “What will people do if they want to smoke, they will get it anywhere whether you hide it or not.”

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