Two-thirds of retailers believe the tobacco display ban will fuel the illicit trade.
A new survey by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance found more than half (53%) of retailers were aware of counterfeit tobacco products being sold in their area. And 22% believed the illicit trade was supplying underage smokers in their area.
More than 1,000 retailers took part in the poll.
“There is a huge black market in tobacco in this country and that really affects tobacco sales in small shops like mine,” said TRA national spokesman Ken Patel.
“Putting tobacco under the counter will make smokers feel like they’re doing something illegal when they buy tobacco from a shop,” he added. “If they think that, they might as well get it from a smuggler who sells it at half the price I can.”
The coalition government is considering whether to overturn the tobacco display ban, which due to come into force next year in supermarkets and by 2013 in convenience stores. A final decision is expected by the autumn.
ACS urges chains to lobby Lansley over display ban (14 August 2010)
Tobacco display ban to be scrutinised in ministerial meeting (24 July 2010)