Tobacco companies use bully-boy tactics to challenge display ban

Monday 26 April 2010

Reacting to the news that Britain’s three largest cigarette companies have announced their intention to challenge the ban on tobacco product display in shops in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, ASH said their action smacked of desperation and was typical of the industry’s bully-boy tactics. [1] ASH strongly refutes the claims by the industry that the Point of Sale regulations will be ineffective and will adversely affect retailers’ profits.

Martin Dockrell, ASH’s Director of Research and Policy said:

“It is for Parliament to make British law, not tobacco industry lawyers. Tobacco displays are now the most visible forms of promotion and evidence shows that such displays have a direct impact on young people’s smoking. [2]

Furthermore evidence from Ireland shows that the cost of implementing the display ban is extremely low – just 300 Euros per shop [3], while retailers report that it is easy to enforce and has had very little impact overall on trade.” [4]

The industry claims to be acting in the interests of retailers yet this legal challenge is unlikely to make any difference to retailers’ profits but, if successful, could hook thousands more children into a lifetime addiction to tobacco, resulting in needless premature death.“

Notes and links:

[1] The tobacco advertising and promotion (display) (England) regulations 2010 were laid before Parliament on 2nd March 2010. See:
[2] ASH Briefing: Tobacco displays at the point of sale.
[3] A similar ban came in to effect in May 2009. In most cases (around 80%) there were special dispensers owned by the tobacco manufacturers and the industry paid to make them compliant. According to a survey by the Association of Convenience Stores those stores that did have to pay paid an average of £300 each. The ACS study observed no sudden drop in sales
[4] Retail Express. 20/4/2010