UK - Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) unhappy with tobacco displays ban..

October 16, 2009 - The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has slammed the United Kingdom (UK) government's plan for a tobacco display ban as the most costly and disruptive of its type in the world.

Draft regulations for the ban were published on Monday (12 October 2009) before the parliamentary debate on the issue.

In order to implement the new law banning tobacco displays, the government will require retailers to fit doors or flaps that only allow an area slightly larger than a sheet of A3 paper to be seen by a customer being served tobacco. This would mean that a typical small shop would be required to fit at least 20 separate doors or flaps to their existing unit, the ACS claimed.

In the Health Bill Report Stage Debate the government defeated an opposition attempt to remove the tobacco display ban from the proposed Health Bill in a whipped vote.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "The minister has proposed regulations that are the most inflexible of their type anywhere in the world. It makes a mockery of the repeated reassurances that ministers have made to Parliament and businesses that they will take a light touch approach to compliance."

The government's official estimate is that the cost of compliance will be £1,000 per store, although ministers have repeatedly suggested to MPs and media that the cost would be much lower for smaller stores.

Lowman added: "The technical challenges in fitting a solution to existing units that meet the ministers' demands could be insurmountable. This would mean retailers having to rip out and replace existing units and the costs will be far higher than previously suggested."

Lowman also questioned the evidence for why such an approach was necessary: "The evidence that a display ban affects smoking rates is weak, but there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that a tiny permitted display area during transactions is necessary for the policy to succeed.

"ACS will make a strong case to government that sets out how damaging their proposed approach to regulations is."

He also expressed disappointment at the outcome of the tobacco display ban vote: "We remain convinced that if MPs were presented with credible alternatives to this measure such as proper deterrents to those that are complicit in giving tobacco to children and effective measures to tackle the illegal trade in communities, they would agree that the display ban is unnecessary."

Reference: ACS slams government's plan for tobacco display ban,, 10/13/2009.

Some related news briefs:
United Kingdom - House of Commons - ban cigarette displays a step closer/vending machine ban even closer..;
Ireland - people responding well to the ban on cigaretet displays..;
JTI attacks UK government for plan to ban tobacco displays..
United Kingdom - 3rd reading of Public Health Bill including ban on tobacco displays..
United Kingdom - limiting access to cigarette vending machines not possible..;
Updated - England - tabacco display ban - the Lords got it right..;
Fewer Britons support the ban on smoking in pubs than in other public places..
"Glasgow effect" - prevalence of cigarette smoking impact on poor health..;
Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..;
Scotland - cigarette vending machines removal..;
Scottish politicians most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..;
England, House of Lords votes to ban shop tobacco dislays and restrict vending machine use..;
Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..;
Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..;
England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..;
UK - Strategies to be implemented to prevent underage tobacco use...