More than 30,000 staff in independent shops across the UK have signed postcards against the plain packaging of tobacco.
The “No To Plain Packs” postcard campaign was launched by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance (TRA) after the government began a twelve-week consultation looking at the possibility of plain or standardised packaging.
Retailers from the TRA hand-delivered almost 2,500 of the cards to the Department of Health.
Debbie Corris, a Whitstable retailer and the TRA’s south-east spokeswoman, said: “It is clear from the level of support from retailers and their staff that there is a groundswell of opinion against plain packaging. The government says it will reduce youth smoking but we all know that young people take up smoking because of peer pressure or because their family smoke, not because they see a blue or a green wrapper behind my counter.”
Harendra Bhatt, a north London shopkeeper, said: “There is no evidence plain packaging will have any health benefits and yet we retailers will be hit with yet another regulatory burden on our shops in addition to the tobacco display ban – and we don’t even know if that is going to work yet. Having all the packets look the same will mean it takes longer for us to serve customers which will mean that before long they will go elsewhere for their tobacco: legally to the supermarkets which have more staff and designated tobacco kiosks; or illegally to smugglers whose activity brings crime into all our communities.”