Friday, 27 August 2010

Trade warns of more illegal tobacco trading if display ban goes ahead

The daily news bulletin of ASH Scotland on Wednesday included several links to Scottish papers and the trade press reporting the warnings of the trade that the display ban will cause smuggling to grow. A further version of the story appeared yesterday south of the border.

Sheila Duffy can't see the problem with the display ban:
Throughout the debate over removing tobacco displays, a measure intended to protect young people from tobacco promotion, the tobacco industry has tried to divert attention away from the important health issues at stake by exaggerating fears based on unfounded claims.
The reality is that there is no substance to these claims. There is no reason to think that adult smokers who currently buy their product legally from responsible retailers will suddenly switch to illegal sources because the product is no longer on display. Smokers will be able to go on buying what they normally buy, where they normally buy it. Why would they suddenly go somewhere else?
What about price?
'Putting tobacco under the counter will make smokers feel like they’re doing something illegal when they buy tobacco from a shop' [says a shopkeeper]. 'If they think that, they might as well get it from a smuggler who sells it at half the price I can.'
There's also the stigma and the sheer bloody inconvenience, to say nothing of the fact that tobacco sales will slow down queues, to the (real or imagined) annoyance of other shoppers.

The English version of the story states that Andrew Lansley, Health Secretary, has been swayed by a rise in smoking rates in Canada since the display ban was introduced there. I hope the Scottish Health & Sport Committee is paying attention!

Sheila's attitude to the retail trade is extraordinary. It is part of her faith that tobacconists, who sell tobacco every day for many more hours every day than she spends working for ASH Scotland, rely completely on the manufacturers for knowledge of the tobacco trade. As for this:
This [the idea that a ban on displays would encourage the black market] looks to me like a classic case of tobacco industry smoke and mirrors. They spread misinformation and alarm amongst retailers, survey the concerns they create, and present the results as if they were genuine evidence.
A direct description of the way the scare of Third Hand Smoke was created.


Anonymous said...

Sheila Duffy stated "Smokers will be able to go on buying what they normally buy, where they normally buy it. Why would they suddenly go somewhere else?"

I personally object to not being able to see the product or range of products before I buy it.

I think this should be my right as a consumer.
The taxes from cigarettes go to fund organisations like Ash and the smoking ban. I don't want to fund these causes. Im sure tobacco smuggling would increase and that more people would buy tobacco elsewhere,whether legally or not!

Belinda said...

I think their ploy is to make shops think it is too much hassle to stock it.

Leg-iron said...

Oh, ha ha ha. I've just thought of something.

Once it is normal to see a smoker supplied from under the counter, nobody is going to imagine for a moment that the shopkeeper might be stocking supplies that are, shall we say, not quite kosher?

Shopkeepers everywhere can supplement their stock through Man with a Van because none of it is on display.

As long as they are careful only to sell the imported stuff to known and trusted regulars, the antismoking zealots will never even notice.

Legit or not, it's all under the counter. It's all the same.

Bring it on, Duffy. A display ban will make it far easier to get hold of the dodgy imports. Far, far easier.

For the first time, Asif's Late Shop will be able to undercut Tesco prices. Asif is a canny businessman. I bet he's already realised this.

The antismokers, on the other hand, just can't seem to get anything right. That's what happens when you're blinded by spite.