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    Challenges of generational tobacco ban explained in DHSC’s consultation submission

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    Representing the voice of more than 40,000 independent retailers, Asian Trader has submitted its response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation on tobacco and vaping restrictions, opposing the proposed generation ban on tobacco and supporting the need for better regulations of vaping market.

    The submission is on two key areas – the introduction of a generational tobacco ban that would make it an offence for anyone born on or after 1st January 2009 to purchase tobacco products and proposed restriction on flavoured vapes and complete ban of disposable ones to address concerns about youth access and environmental impact.

    On the general tobacco ban, Asian Trader has highlighted loopholes in the policy in terms of overall impracticality in implementation, chances of creating situation of conflicts with shoppers inviting abuse and violence on being asked proof of age and keeping it in line with changing timelines every year and potential for growth in the illicit tobacco trade.

    The publication has also pointed out the huge impact it can have on local stores since the likely trajectory of this ban is complete prohibition.

    “Nevertheless, tobacco sales remain a significant element of the livelihoods of small convenience stores. Statistics show that smokers have a higher ‘basket spend’ in general when they visit convenience stores, which would mean a double-blow to the channel if the ban goes ahead.

    “In fact, a ban of this scope would inevitably result in the ruin of a good number of convenience-store businesses – which overwhelmingly means families– especially in such hard-scrabble economic times as the country is currently experiencing, and even though the channel has borne so much of the burden, and performed so heroically, during the lockdown periods.

    “It was not a long time ago that these very local stores and corner shops emerged as the country’s lifeline during unprecedented times of lockdown. Many store owners not only continued their business braving the risks, but several of them went an extra mile to assist elderly by delivering free care packages and ensuring that they get their essentials on their doorstep at no extra cost.

    “It feels as if the sector is being punished instead of rewarded, a reward being what it deserves for all its hard work and community efforts,” states the submission.

    On the future of the vaping market in the UK, Asian Trader has made it clear that it supports the government’s core objectives to prevent young people from accessing vaping products and to reduce the environmental impact of disposable devices. 

    The publication supports the idea of better and clear rules on this emerging market though has expressed its strong opposition on the idea of complete ban on disposable vapes.

    The publication supports the idea of better rules on the kinds of packaging and vape flavour descriptors that are available, supporting that child-friendly flavour and branding should be restricted.

    The submission states that Asian Trader does not support a ban on disposable vapes, saying an outright ban on disposable vapes is not the right approach here as it will only gives boost to black market. Rather the focus should be on teaching people right way to dispose in recycling bins as well as in assisting retailers in collection initiatives of used disposable vapes. 

    We would love to know your thoughts on this. Reach out to us on [email protected] and share your opinion.

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