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Warning over new EU tobacco plans

09 August, 2013

Retailers have been urged to take action over proposed new restrictions on the sales of tobacco.

The EU is considering a number of proposals including the ban of pack sizes below 20 for cigarettes, a ban on packs below 40 grams for roll your own (RYO) tobacco products, a ban on popular products including menthol and slim cigarettes, the implementation of a standardised pack shape and size and the introduction of health warnings covering 75% of the front of packet..

Tobacco manufacturer JTI described the proposals as a mishmash of ideas that would not accomplish their stated public health objectives.

It also warned they would have a negative effect on retailers because they would reduce visit frequency and the number of tobacco transactions, as well as the number of ancillary non-tobacco purchases made by tobacco shoppers.

Jeremy Blackburn, head of communications at JTI UK, commented: “This proposal makes no sense at all and it has the potential to drive community stores across the UK out of business and at the same time play straight in to the hands of local gangs who profit from the illegal cigarette trade.

“Banning 10s and smaller pack sizes of RYO will mean the lowest price would be the street price sold by criminals who peddle to anyone, including children. The UK will be an even more obvious target for illegal cigarettes; criminals and counterfeiters across the globe will never have had it so good.”

He urged retailers to do three things: register at the Forest website www.nothankeu.com; write to their local Member of the European Parliament at www.writetothem.com; and tell their customers their packs will disappear if they don’t do something now.