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Forest urges Government to reject tobacco retailer licensing system

Mon 23rd May, 2016

Forest has urged the government to reject a tobacco retailer licensing scheme and put the interests of legitimate retailers and consumers ahead of the demands of the tobacco control industry.

In a submission to a consultation that closed on Friday 20th May, the group said introducing a licensing scheme could significantly reduce the number of small businesses that sell tobacco.

According to Forest:

"Deliberately reducing the density or number of existing tobacco retailers in a specific area would discriminate against many small businesses who rely on tobacco sales to make ends meet.

"It would also deny consumers the choice and convenience they have come to expect. Demand for illicit tobacco could increase because cost and convenience would combine to make black market tobacco even more attractive than it is already.

"Increasing the administrative burden on retailers could lead to higher prices as retailers pass the cost on to the consumer. Price increases could be added to non-tobacco products so the impact of licensing would unfairly hit non-smoking customers as well."

Director Simon Clark added:

"We urge the government to put the needs of legitimate retailers and consumers first and not succumb to the demands of the tobacco control industry whose goal is to force smokers to quit regardless of whether they want to or not.

"If adult consumers choose to purchase a legal product their lives should not be made unnecessarily difficult by the imposition of regulations that could fuel illicit trade and adversely affect many legitimate businesses."

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