Newsagent slams tobacco ban as it takes effect

By Steve Hayes 24/04 Updated: 25/04 09:19

Buy photos » Alison Gardner who runs Gardner News says putting cigarettes under the counter will not deter people from smoking, and fears it could leave shopkeepers vulnerable to crime. 11.011.029.strat.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)

A NEWSAGENT has slammed a Government ban on advertising tobacco ahead of it coming into effect for stores across the district.

Alison Gardner, of Gardner's News in Stratford, said there was no logic behind the ban on advertising cigarettes and other tobacco products and said it would have entirely negative consequences.

The ban comes into effect for larger stores on April 1 in a bid to drive down smoking. It means they will no longer be able to have tobacco products on show.

Smaller stores, like Alison's on Clopton Street, will not be affected until 2015, but this week she said she was already preparing for ill-effects the ban was likely to have on her business and argued there was no evidence to suggest it would reduce smoking.

She told the Observer: "We won't be affected by the ban just yet but we are anticipating it coming into force and it will have negative effects there is no question about that.

"The supermarkets probably won't be impacted and can afford any changes they have to make but as a smaller business we just can't do that.

"In the first instance there is clearly a security issue as if the products are out of sight and we have to go and get them it leaves the store more vulnerable.

"But on top of that if we can't advertise what we are offering it means we can't sell as much.

"We price match but unfortunately a lot of people assume because we are a newsagent we will be more expensive when it isn't the case, so if they can't see the prices we will lose business.

"There doesn't seem to be any evidence it reduces smoking rates in young people, in fact there are studies which appear to show the opposite is true.

"It's very frustrating and it does feel like the Government is pandering to the anti-smoking lobbyists."

But Warwickshire County Council's community protection chief, Richard Hobbs, supported the ban.

He said: "Smoking is an addiction that often starts in childhood. Most people who smoke start before they reach the age of 18.

"The ban will put cigarettes out of the sight of children in shops. The Government hopes that this will discourage children from starting smoking in the first place, saving lives and improving health."

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