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Shrewsbury shopkeeper may stub out cigarette sales altogether after law change

A newsagent may stop selling cigarettes after new regulations banning the display of tobacco made it “more trouble than it’s worth”.

Ron Miller, of Castle News, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, said a ban on displaying tobacco in small shops, which came into force yesterday, has made life difficult for traders.

He said: “It makes work a lot more difficult for us.

“Sales often go up when people are told they cannot do something. It just makes things for difficult for shopkeepers.

“I am seriously considering getting rid of them altogether.

“They are more trouble than they are worth.

“The cigarette market isn’t a big one for us now. I am going to concentrate on other things rather than tobacco.”

The ban has been welcomed by campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), but criticised by shopkeeper group the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance and other retailers.

And the news has been met with mixed reaction by other Shropshire newsagents.

George Walker, manager of Claremont News in Claremont Street, Shrewsbury, said: “I think it is a bit unnecessary.

“I don’t think it will deter people. It is an added burden and just a scheme to make the Government look good.”

John Vine, who owns Newsworld in Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton, said: “We have had ours in a month and we are selling as many now as we did before the display changed.

“Ninety per cent of our customers are regulars who come in for their tobacco and haven’t stopped coming in because of the new display.

“So I don’t think it will make any difference – it certainly has not with us.”

Ramandeet Jarhal, director of Wilbrahams News in Shrewsbury Street, Whitchurch, said: “I think it is a good thing.

“It can be annoying for the retailer having to keep opening and closing the doors but I think it will probably deter more people from smoking.”

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Ash, said the changes were vital to stop children smoking at an early age.

She said: “Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18, so it is vital that everything is done to put tobacco out of sight to protect future generations.

“The display ban in small shops will work hand in hand with standardised packs, which will be introduced in May 2016, to further protect children.”

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