Tobacco display ban – blurring the edges between legitimate and illicit trade

John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), has expressed concern that a tobacco display ban would encourage people to purchase tobacco through the illicit trade.

Speaking at a summit on tackling the illicit tobacco trade, organised by Ash Scotland, Mr Drummond raised concerns that display ban will blur the edges between legitimate and illicit tobacco

John Drummond said;

“We are of the opinion that the display ban will encourage some consumers to consider obtaining tobacco from the black market. The less understanding of what can be sold normally, through shops, will just blur the edges and could encourage people to look at an alternative supply, especially where there is a significant price differential.

“I accept there is very little evidence to support this view but in Ireland where the display ban has been in place for more than a year, it is now estimated that, one in every three packets of cigarettes sold, is contraband. And the illicit trade doesn’t care about the age of consumers. Whilst our members go to great lengths by using the Challenge 25 principle to ensure younger consumers have proof of age to confirm they can legally purchase, the illicit trader just simply won’t care.”