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Newsagents Lobby Ministers to Call off the Ban on Tobacco Displays

Shopkeepers are afraid that coming rules to stop tobacco products will cost them their livelihoods. Nearly 70,000 UK newsagents are involved in a last- ditch battle in order to prevent the ban on tobacco products displays that they state will cause closures of their shops.

Anjali Karpal, a retailer and branch officer for the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) that is one of Europe’s biggest retail trade associations, has called on cabinet minister Francis Maude to lobby against the authorization. In a letter addressed to Mr. Maude, Mrs. Karpal and her husband wrote that there is no proof from anywhere in the world where displays bans have been implemented that they lower the levels of smoking among teenagers or adults. “The only thing this legislation is doing is asking the 70,000 small shops that sell tobacco products across the UK to pay £70m in order to adopt a measure that will not work while small shops like mine are fighting to survive”.

The given ban was submitted for approval by the last Labour government and would make it illegal for any tobacco products to be displayed or advertised in shops. Also would be prohibited any cigarette stands behind cash desks and not last but the least cigarettes stored under the counter. In present it is under review and a decision on adopting the ban that would come into force in 2013, is expected in the following weeks. Despite the fact that it was opposed by the Tories, it seems to be passed by the Coalition. Tobacco assembles 30% of sales in the small shop sector and according to critics it will unfavorably affect newsagents.

According to Mr. Maude’s office, he will make representations on Mrs. Karpal’s behalf. Mike Weatherley, the Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade, subjected to consideration two questions to the departments of business and health last week. He asked about the effects this ban would have on business rates on local councils and shops closed and also what proofs supported the affirmation that a ban would lead to lowered smoking rates.

Mr. Weatherley stated: “I am an anti –smoker and I believe that whatever measures could help to lower smoking rates are to be encouraged. Nevertheless, I was not long ago invited to meet shop retailers in my constituency and I was really shocked by how afraid they were about the given cigarette display ban. They are worried that they will need £20,000 to compensate the cost of execution. “.

Mrs. Karpal declared: “I have run shops for more than 20 years and this ban can really expose our livelihood to danger. The trading conditions are already harder due to recession. I am afraid that customers will not come to my shops. The government should educate people against the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and not affect small retailers.”