Standardised tobacco packaging will make ‘no sense’

The FWD has warned that should standardised packaging for tobacco products comes in, it will add an operational burden to wholesalers and their retail customers, but will do nothing to reduce smoking rates as members of the public are not able to see tobacco products in the distribution chain.

FWD chief executive James Bielby said: “Introducing standardised packaging for tobacco products in a wholesale or cash and carry environment makes absolutely no sense.”Removing clear identification of manufacturer, brand and price in the distribution chain cannot possibly affect the public’s attitude to smoking, but it will create operational difficulties, confusion and delay for both wholesale depot staff and their customers.”

The proposed legislation, if it ever comes into force, will lead to an absurd situation in C amp;Cs where it would be necessary to hide tobacco packaging (under the display rules) which didn’t have any brand marking (under the standardised packaging rules). The FWD says that it will be making this point in its consultation.

The Tobacco Retailers Alliance (TRA) has also criticised the government for only making its consultation documents on proposals for plain tobacco packaging available in English and Welsh, thus, it says, depriving a section of the retail community to put its views forward Suleman Khonat, a Blackburn shopkeeper and the north-west spokesman for the TRA, said: “All of the UK’s corner shopkeepers will be affected if standardised packaging is introduced and for a good many of them, English is not their first language.The consultation documents are wordy and lengthy and could be intimidating even for those fluent in English, let alone those who are not. It seems most unfair that such a sizeable group of people all of whom will potentially be affected by this issue should not be given the same access to the information as everyone else.”

• Palmer and Harvey has produced what it says is the UK’s first multi-lingual tobacco guide for independent retailers. The free 16-page guide, available in English, Urdu and Gujarati, explains the tobacco display ban, its impact on multiples and large store operators and how smaller independent retailers can profit from it.

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