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    Generational ban on tobacco to long-term impact retailers: ACS

    (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

    The introduction of a generational ban on tobacco products will have an impact on retailers long term as it involves training and is expected to disrupt their businesses, a leading association of convenience stores has said as the government published the Tobacco and Vapes Bill today (20), confirming the introduction of a ban on the sale of tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1st January 2009.

    Reacting to the development, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said that the introduction of a generational ban on tobacco products will have an impact on retailers long term, as it involves training staff on a separate age restricted sales policy beyond the widely utilised Challenge25 procedures.

    “We will work with our Primary Authority partners to provide clarity for retailers on exactly what they will be required to do in store.

    “Despite the introduction of the Bill today, we are still awaiting detail on how the government aims to restrict the vaping market, which it is currently running a number of chaotic disconnected workstreams on. The timescale for the introduction of the disposables ban has been set at April 2025, when retailers will have to restructure their vaping displays and gantries to switch solely to pod systems and rechargeable devices, but the timescale for further restrictions on those gantries is as yet unknown – meaning retailers will have to disrupt their businesses twice in quick succession.

    “Yet again the government have failed to arm Trading Standards teams with powers to enforce these policies properly. Token £100 fixed penalty notices for failing to adhere to vaping restrictions and the generational ban demonstrate how far off the mark this Government is with its enforcement strategy.”

    The Bill contains enabling powers for the Secretary of State to introduce a wide range of restrictions on the vaping category, including limitations on a number of areas including: 

    • The production or import of vaping products 
    • Appearance of packaging (shape, size, how the packaging is opened)
    • Materials, colours and texture of packaging
    • The number of products in an individual packet
    • Flavours of vaping products including how those flavours are described

    There is no specific detail on which restrictions the Government seeks to take forward or any timescales for the introduction of those restrictions. 

    The Bill also includes specifics of the age of sale notice that retailers will be required to display at each point of sale of tobacco products, which in England must read: ‘It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009’. 

    Lowman added that there is a clear issue with the illicit trade in vaping and tobacco that needs to be addressed, as it is rogue sellers that are supplying dodgy products to anyone who wants them, including children, and operating without fear of reproach from Trading Standards teams that are already stretched beyond their limits.

    “What we need is a coherent strategy focused on enforcing the rules that we already have and providing enforcement teams with enough resources to be able to do their jobs properly. New regulations that only affect responsible retailers will do nothing to deter the criminals that are importing and selling illicit products,” he said.

    The Bill will receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons tomorrow (21st March). The full text of the Bill is available here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-04/0189/230189.pdf

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