Retailers have expressed concern about the government’s decision to ban smoking in public places, but insist they can weather any losses resulting from the move.
One CTN chain told The Grocer: “The impact on knock-on trade concerns me, because people buying cigarettes also buy newspapers and snacks.”
But another retailer said: “The ban will not stop people from smoking altogether. Tobacco products also have a lower profit margin than other goods, so the effect on the bottom line will not be too bad.”
Some off-licences even hope the move will lead to more people smoking and drinking at home, boosting their sales. One chain said: “If people can’t go out to smoke, they will stay in. That could work in our favour.”
A spokesman for Imperial Tobacco said: “The ban in Ireland has shown that adult smokers will continue to smoke and although there may be an initial dip in consumption, this diminishes over time.”
The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association said it was “very disappointed” by the decision.
The government vote to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces such as pubs and clubs is expected to become law within the next 18 months.