Review called for display ban

The Association of Convenience Stores has written to new business secretary Vince Cable calling for an “urgent review” to the proposed restrictions surrounding tobacco display.

The Department for Business has laid out ambitious plans to review and revoke any regulations in the pipeline inherited from the previous government.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Reducing the red tape burden on business is the right priority for government, and we welcome the new structures set up to challenge existing and planned business burdens.

“However they must be prepared to go into politically controversial areas and take an objective look at the evidence. A willingness to review measures like the tobacco display ban would be a striking signal of intent.”

ACS said new evidence from Canada and Ireland casts further doubt on the effectiveness of a ban.

It said new statistics published by Health Canada show that smoking amongst young people has increased from 11% to 13% amongst 15 to 17 year olds since 2006-07.

Irish smoking prevalence is also on the increase one year after the ban was brought in, according to ACS, with total smokers in the population in Ireland increasing from 24% to 31% from 20017 to 2010.

Lowman said: “The main justification for the tobacco display ban was that it has been proven to reduce youth smoking in jurisdictions like Canada, but the most recent figures from Canadian Health authorities show that the display ban is having no effect on smoking behaviour among young people. It suggests that government must look at other measures that will bear down on smoking attitudes among young people.

“Given the clear independent evidence that a display ban is not working it is a prime candidate for review. Action to remove this planned burden would save the industry in excess of £66 million pounds and send a clear signal this government is serious about reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens.”