Local Shops have reacted angrily to today’s announcement Ministers have not reached a decision on whether to implement the tobacco display ban.
According to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), The Public Health White Paper published today further confused the matter by suggesting Ministers are also considering a ban on tobacco branding on packets.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers are being treated disgracefully by Ministers, they have waited months for a straight answer and yet again none has been given. Before the election the current Ministers were very clear in their opposition to tobacco displays and they have been reviewing their position ever since they came into Government. Thousands of shops currently have little more than 10 months before they will have to comply with a ban, and yet have no clarity around how they should comply.
“The matter has been further confused by a suggestion that Ministers could introduce plain packaging, yet there is no explanation of how the Ministers think the two restrictions would work together. We have made very clear to Government that adopting both policies is incoherent and would increase costs and operational burdens for shops.
“Plain Packaging would be difficult for retailers, imposing costs through slowing down service and restocking and threatening sales by making illegal counterfeiting far easier.
“Minister must act now to provide reassurance to retailers. We remain convinced that the best option is to abandon plans for a display ban, and there is now an unanswerable case for an immediate freeze on the projected compliance deadlines.”