Independent SPAR retailer and SGF Community Store Campaigner, Pete Cheema, recently met with Murdo Fraser MSP, Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, at his Meigle store, to talk about the proposals to ban the display of tobacco in shops.
During the visit Pete was able to show Mr Fraser how impractical banning the display of tobacco would be due to the lack of storage behind the shop counter and they discussed the unintended consequences of a ban including a possible increase in transaction times, customer migration to larger stores and a greater opportunity for stock theft.
Pete Cheema said;
“Young people should not smoke and should be actively discouraged from doing so but rather than concentrating solely on sanctions directed at retailers to reduce youth smoking the Scottish Government must address the black market in tobacco and adults who provide tobacco to under –18s.”
Murdo Fraser MSP said;
“As a supporter of local shops I oppose policy changes that may put local shops in jeopardy. Despite there being no compelling evidence to indicate a display ban will reduce youth smoking, the Scottish Government is determined to proceed with a measure which will cost small shops thousands of pounds. This is reckless behaviour particularly during an economic downturn and is treating the businesses which will bear these additional costs and legislation as expendable.
“What are needed are effective deterrents against adults who give children cigarettes or allow them to be taken, education of young people and properly resourced policing of the black market.”