By now, you should all be covered up. And by that I mean your cigarettes and baccy, all cosy and snug behind doors or shutters because on April 6, that’s the law!

And it’s quite a complicated law with sub-sections on when you can open doors/shutters, who can look, and how much you are allowed to show and they are allowed to see. But it’s important you get it right or there will be fines.

It’s definitely a momentous change to the way you sell tobacco. Luckily for you, the bigger stores have been doing this for some time now so hopefully a lot of your customers will have some sort of inkling as to what it’s all about. I remember when the big boys went dark. There had been no government communication to smokers at all about the hows, whys and wherefores, and as a result, some supermarkets resorted to plastering their kiosks with signs saying ’We do still sell tobacco’.

It’s definitely a strange state of affairs. Yes, of course, smoking is harmful to one’s health (and arguably those around the smokers too) but cigarettes and tobacco are not illegal and I don’t know of anyone who has ever taken up smoking because they’ve seen packets of cigarettes in shops. And that, of course, leads me on to the next inevitable stand against tobacco so-called plain packaging.

Although it’s not actually that plain as packs will carry a grisly picture of a smoker’s insides, a stark health warning, oh and a tiny little brand name.

Now I write this not as a smoker, but as someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do. If smoking is so bad, make the manufacturer and purchase of cigarettes and tobacco illegal. But silly me, where would the powers-that-be recoup the cigarette tax from?

Rant aside, I hope you have all taken on board the advice from the manufacturers about the importance of staff being familiar with brands and ensuring availability of best sellers at all times. No-one likes a queue but it seems they may be a consequence, at least at first, of covering up.

Despite the government’s best efforts, a lot of people still choose to smoke. They may have down-traded to cheaper brands or be rolling their own, but they are still smoking and as such are valuable customers.