“Do Retailers Want To See Tougher Laws On Tobacco Sales?”

CSNA Commentary on Impartial Observer Article:   We noticed this Article on our news-gathering service and wondered how many ( if any) of the reported observations that were purported to have come from “small” shopkeepers in the UK were true for Irish tobacco retailers.

While it is true that we should have a very jaundiced eye on many of the statements that emanate from tobacco companies, it is equally the case that much of the research and statements that come from NGO’s and paid anti-tobacco academics need to be taken with a pinch of salt!

There is literally an entire industry throughout the world publishing anti-tobacco, anti-vaping, anti-alcohol and anti-obesity “studies”, many of which call for, (surprise, surprise), more studies on a particular aspect of a subject.

This most recent “study”, in which there doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to seek the views of UK representative bodies to provide a viewpoint , seems to come from an idea that shopkeepers don’t really mind if the UK Government makes it even more difficult to sell a legal product to their adult customers.

Rising the age from 18 to 21 as the minimum age that a person could legally purchase tobacco may seem to be a reasonable proposition for a society struggling to reduce the consumption of a dangerous product until it is brought to your attention that such a restriction may also be placed on the age that your staff would need to be in order to abide by such a regime.

There are very few retailers we represent that could willingly agree to exclude from their workforce young men and women between the ages of 18 and 21.

With regards to the survey conducted, we suspect, by ASH , who have frequently suggested in the past that retailers do not fare well from tobacco sales, one of the areas of interest to Irish retailers is the enormous additional stocking costs that comes from Big Boxes ; the survey didn’t ask any questions about Big Boxes to their UK respondents because it isn’t a problem for them “over there” for the simple reason that in the North and in the UK, retailers are free to set their own prices, above the RRP set by the companies.

Almost 40% of all cigarettes sold in our stores are from Big Box format; more stocking, more errors, fewer repeat visits, lower margin than the 20 and price manipulation following Budgets to maintain a price “advantage “, all because the State permits the company rather than the retailer to set the price.

If and when the Licensing system is introduced into Ireland, it will have an annual fee applied- why can’t the cost of that fee come from increased selling prices?