Tobacco Products Display Ban

  • The TMA is opposed to regulation that restricts or prohibits retailers from displaying product at the point of sale.
  • There is no credible evidence to support the government’s stated objective that a ban would reduce youth smoking. Recent evidence from Canada has demonstrated that youth smoking has remained the same or increased in 5 of the 8 Canadian provinces that have implemented a display ban (Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey 2008 – current smokers aged 15-19).
  • The proposed legislation in the UK will make illicit, unregulated tobacco products easier to sell. Concealing tobacco products from view will make it easier for traders of smuggled product to blend it into the legal supply chain.  It could encourage some smokers to buy from rogue traders who are prepared to sell more visible illicit product. The efforts of tobacco companies and HMR&C have led to a reduction in smuggling of genuine tobacco products but this proposal is likely to increase counterfeiting and illicit trade. We believe, as recent evidence in Ireland proves, that organised crime will exploit the display ban. (The Republic of Ireland implemented a ban on the display of tobacco products in July 2009).
  • Display of product is necessary to allow adult consumers to make an informed choice based on availability, price and brand from the wide range of tobacco products on the market.
  • Display of product also enables fair and undistorted competition to take place between manufacturers and between retailers.
  • The costs of the proposed legislation will impact adversely on thousands of small retailers and the communities they serve. Product display above the counter is essential to retailers to keep products secure and retail efficiency reasons e.g. speed up transaction times and reduce the need for extended verbal communication.  Tobacco is a high value FMCG product and the most requested FMCG product with approximately 10.6 m 1 smokers in the UK regularly buying tobacco products.

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1 General Lifestyle Survey plus Continuous Household Survey (northern Ireland) 2008