Tobacco manufacturers put the frighteners on corner shops

Wednesday 18 March 2009

The tobacco industry front group “The Tobacco Retailers Alliance” was condemned today for attempting to terrify small shop keepers. The group was exposed as a tobacco industry front organisation last autumn when they were caught covertly lobbying MPs against government health policy. The Department of Health wants to cut youth smoking by ending tobacco displays and the tobacco industry is determined to stop them. It has claimed that similar legislation in Canada is closing down dozens of corner shops every week. Martin Dockrell, Director of Research and Policy at ASH said,

“This is the kind of thing we see coming from the tobacco industry time after time. These laws only came in last year and the big tobacco companies are claiming that they have already closed hundreds of small businesses. Of course they don’t say how many businesses closed last year or how many new businesses opened up. Most deceitful of all they don’t even mention the credit crunch and they don’t explain how Canada’s biggest convenience store chain reported profits up over 40%. The truth is that Big Tobacco depends on recruiting 100,000 new teen smokers every year to stay in profit and they will stop at nothing to peddle their addictive poison to our children”

Dockrell explained how industry groups used the same tactics to try and block smokefree laws.

“This is no more than a cut and paste job from last year’s press releases about smokefree pubs. Tobacco industry front groups have claimed that every pub that has closed in the last two years closed purely because customers now smoke outside. The truth is that until the recession hit the number of licenses to sell alcohol was up 5%.”

Department of Health proposals now before Parliament will end tobacco displays in large shops in England by 2011. Small shops will have until 2013 to comply.



Couche Tard, Canada’s biggest chain of convenience stores, reported profits up 41% (source: Reuters)

The Tobacco Retailers Alliance is funded by the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA). They do not disclose their address on the website but deliveries are made care of the TMA offices.

Contact: Martin Dockrell (w) 020 7739 5902 (m) 07949 089 636