?I don't think the ban on smoking in public places will affect sales of tobacco because many people are addicted and the top priority in their life is to have a cigarette. Any impact will be marginal. There is an overwhelming case to simplify the banning laws, and increasing the age to 18 will make it easier in the long run, although we still need a nationally recognised ID scheme, not the mish-mash that currently exists.
There will be an element of antisocial behaviour with the 16 to 17-year-olds when the change comes, but only in the transitional period. Long term, it will be accepted and it will be easier for me and my staff.
Raise limit to 21 Bhoo Patel Philog Stores Cardiff
?I hope the ban on smoking in public places does affect sales of tobacco because I would be happy to sell fewer cigarettes. Tobacco ties up much of my cashflow and the mark-up is low. The fewer people who smoke, the better the health of the nation as well.
I agree with raising the smoking age to 18 and I actually think the age limit for alcohol and cigarettes should be increased to 21, even though I know a lot of traders would not agree. I have already started to talk to 16 and 17-year-olds coming into my shop about the change. I think Trading Standards should help us with posters for our shops, too.
In front line for abuse Atul Sodha Londis Harefield, Middlesex
?Depending how the on-trade handles the smoking ban, it might benefit us in the short term if people decide to stay in more. We have an opportunity to sell more tobacco, beer, confectionery and pizzas to people marketed under the big night in theme if they decide to stay in rather than go out.
Raising the smoking age to 18 will be an absolute nightmare to police and I think it is going to be a minefield. The government hasn't done enough to publicise the forthcoming change and my staff are in the front line for any abuse.
Retailers have a responsibility to prevent kids to from buying alcohol or cigarettes but I don't think the public has any idea about the pressures on us.
Six out of every 10 independent retailers quizzed believe July's smoking ban in England won't affect tobacco sales. But 80% of them believe that when the smoking age increases to 18 in October, they will experience more anti-social behaviour from 16 to 17-year-olds who will be unable to buy tobacco when they previously could.
"It's not going to make 16 and 17-year-olds stop smoking, it will just make them upset," said one retailer, while another felt these teenagers will just get older people to buy cigarettes for them instead. "They probably already hang around with 18-year-olds so they'll get hold of them anyway," she said.
Some retailers felt that any increase in antisocial behaviour would only be temporary and just during the transition period of the change in the law. Most, however, felt the government should invest heavily in a publicity campaign to make everyone aware of the changes.
"We already get hassle from kids about buying cigarettes and if the change is not well advertised, we'll just get more abuse," said one shop owner. As well as TV and billboard advertising, many retailers called for Trading Standards to help out with posters for their shops.
The Association of Convenience Stores is concerned. Chief executive James Lowman said: "As a result of this change many customers who were previously allowed to buy tobacco will now be unable to overnight and it is retailers who will be on the front line of enforcing the new age. The government needs to communicate clearly what is happening, plan ahead and put serious funding behind a high-profile campaign."
Some independents, especially in more rural areas, have already started to tell their young customers of the impending changes. "I know most of the youngsters who come in the shop and we have started warning them that we won't be able to serve them in October," said one.
Some retailers felt just tinkering with the age limits was not the answer to getting young people to abandon cigarettes forever. As to whether the smoking age should be increased to 18, 50% thought it should be, while the other half felt the decision was wrong.
The ban on smoking in public places from 1 July in England and 2 April in Wales won't impact on sales, according to 60% of independents. "I don't think people will give up smoking because of this but they might not smoke as many," said one owner. "Cigarette sales are as buoyant as ever and I can't see this changing," said another.