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Nine in 10 Shopkeepers Think Plain Tobacco Packaging Will Help Smugglers

10th July, 2014 - A new survey from the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance has found that nine in 10 (89%) corner shopkeepers think plain tobacco packaging will make tobacco packets easier for smugglers to copy.

Suleman Khonat, National Spokesman of the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance and a Blackburn shopkeeper commented:

“Retailers like me are extremely concerned at the detrimental effects that plain packaging will have on our livelihoods, which most people outside our trade would not realise. 80% of retailers think that plain packaging would lead to slower transaction times resulting in lost customers, not prepared to queue. Our survey also found that of those retailers who have been the victim of burglary in the last 12 months, 53% thought that this would get worse with plain packaging. Seven in 10 (69%) thought that plain packaging would see legitimate tobacco sales lost to the black market.

“Taken as a whole, these findings show that introducing plain packaging will have serious consequences - from lost tax coming in to the Treasury to smuggling becoming rife in our communities.  With more smugglers in our streets, those under 18 will have greater access to tobacco than ever before.”

A recent Populus poll in the UK which found that 82% of police officers said plain packaging would boost smuggling if it was introduced here.

The survey was launched at a reception in the House of Commons held by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance to recognise the contribution of responsible independent retailers in the UK.

 

Retailers Reaction To Start of Second Plain Packaging Consultation

26th June, 2014 - Following the beginning of the second consultation looking at the plain packaging of tobacco, Suleman Khonat, the National Spokesman of the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance and a Blackburn shopkeeper commented:

“In the original consultation on plain packaging in 2012, 64% of those who responded were against the move, which makes you wonder quite why the Government needs to consult on the issue again. The one benefit of the passage of time is that it has allowed evidence to appear from Australia – the only country to introduce plain packaging – and the evidence there has found a huge surge in smuggling since plain packaging implementation and an increase in the level of consumption.

“This is backed up by a recent Populus poll in the UK which found that 82% of police officers said plain packaging would boost smuggling if it was introduced here. Any sale by a smuggler is at the expense of legitimate retailers and this does not even begin to take into account that the profits from the illicit tobacco trade go into drug smuggling, prostitution and people trafficking, blighting communities across the land.

“We look forward to emphasising these points in this new consultation.”