Newsagents' group opposes tobacco retailing legislation


A FORTHCOMING ban on the display of tobacco, tobacco products and tobacco advertising in all shops is “too onerous” and should be delayed for a number of years, according to the chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagent Association.

Vincent Jennings, whose organisation represents 15,000 retailers, said the cost to retailers of complying with the new ban would be “between €1,000 and €5,000 at a time when retailers are already put to the pin of their collar”.

Speaking at a conference in Dublin organised by an international representative body for convenience stores, he said about a dozen newsagents and stores were closing across Ireland every month and the demands put on retailers in the regulations would “accelerate” this trend.

The key provisions in the Public Health Tobacco Acts coming into effect on July 1st are a ban on advertising for tobacco products in-store, a ban on the display of tobacco products and an obligation on retailers to register with the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) to sell tobacco products.

David Bryans, president of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, said such bans had been in place in parts of Canada for four years and had proved to be the “worst thing that could happen to small businesses”.

Stressing he was not an advocate of smoking, he said since such bans had been introduced in Ontario and Quebec last May 8.6 per cent, or 765, independent convenience stores had closed. “I predict 30 per cent of small shops will be closed within three years,” he told the conference, which was hosted by the US-based National Association of Convenience Stores.

Éamonn Rossi of the OTC said the measure should not mean incurring significant costs. “What this measure is about first and foremost, is reducing the number of future smokers,” he said.