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Seeing through the smoke

Are you confident that you and your staff know enough about the changes in the tobacco market to communicate them to any smokers who might ask about them?

Mayday, Mayday

Last year was a momentous one for the tobacco retail trade as all stores went 'dark' and products were hidden away behind closed doors. This year we are expecting the implementation of the European Union Tobacco Products Directive II (EUTPD II) and with it more draconian changes, not least of all the prospect of plain packaging.

Vaper money

The last time Forecourt Trader ran an in-depth piece on e-cigarettes just a few months ago an expert independent review had concluded that e-cigs were less harmful than tobacco. As this article was being written, scientists had said e-cigs may be no better than their tobacco counterparts. However, their tests were in labs and the scientists said the results might not be the same in real people. The 'are they or aren't they harmful?' argument will likely run for years, but in the meantime tobacco smokers who want to give up the hard stuff continue to turn to e-cigs.

Vape crusaders

The e-cig industry must have been collectively jumping for joy last month after an expert independent review concluded that e-cigs were around 95% less harmful than tobacco and had the potential to help smokers quit.

Hidden strengths

The tobacco gantry at Askern Service Station in Doncaster 'went dark' at the end of February, well ahead of the official start date of April 6. Site manager, Richard Nixon, says everyone was well prepared. "Staff were well briefed so they knew all about the legislation and could tell customers if they asked about it," he explains, "but to be fair, 90% of our customers had seen the changes in the supermarkets so we didn't get a lot of resistance.

Behind closed doors

In just two months, the way tobacco is sold across the UK will change forever with all displays going dark or 'behind closed doors'.

Vaper trail

You know the e-cigarette industry's really come of age when the traditional tobacco companies get busy acquiring e-cig firms. So you have JTI with Zandera, which is responsible for E-Lites; Philip Morris International with Nicocigs, the firm behind Nicolites; and BAT with Nicoventures which produces Vype.

Show offs

This year is going to be a busy one for the tobacco category as it's the manufacturers' last chance to launch new lines before the full display ban in April 2015.

Countdown begins

April 6, 2015, is D-day for small stores selling tobacco products. From that day on displays have to be covered up, behind doors or shutters. Gayatri Barua-Howe, UK communications manager at Imperial Tobacco, says that while it is each retailer's personal responsibility to ensure that they comply with the display restrictions requirements, her firm is currently looking at a number of different scenarios to help retailers plan for these changes and to ensure compliance. "We will be discussing these in more detail over the coming months," she adds.

Risky business?

The risks involved in selling illicit cigarettes have risen substantially as, for the first time ever in the UK, a retailer has been found guilty of intentionally selling dangerous cigarettes. Until now, any UK retailer caught selling "cheap whites" has been prosecuted for tax evasion, but Shapoor Atiqi from Boston Food and Wine Centre in Lincolnshire, has been found guilty of eight offences, including the sale of non self-extinguishing cigarettes. He was sentenced to 270 hours of community work and fined more than £5,000.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 10 February 2020
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East129.87138.31125.86
East Midlands129.4868.90139.04125.87
London129.9967.90139.50126.40
North East127.6463.90137.79124.24
North West128.7161.90138.29125.24
Northern Ireland126.52131.30123.30
Scotland128.4466.90136.00124.66
South East130.6866.90139.77126.86
South West129.48136.50125.54
Wales128.25136.13124.47
West Midlands129.5665.90139.76125.95
Yorkshire & Humber128.82139.37125.16

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