As prices have risen in the tobacco market through inflation and duty increases, consumers have switched towards lower-priced products, so there is definitely a strong element of downtrading evident within the market.
The budget brands in this sector are faring better than the premium products in general and we have seen strong growth from a number of brands at lower price points.
At the Co-op we have initiatives in place to educate our staff and consumers on the changes in legislation for tobacco and we will continue to communicate these messages as they become available.
The Co-op already has a Look 21 strategy in place, so we do not expect the legislation changes on minimum purchase age, which is due to change from 16 to 18 years old, to have any significant impact on the way we serve our customers.
In terms of the smoking ban, we have learnt from the Scottish example, and that of Ireland, and we will continue to prepare for this as much as possible.