The Department of Health has today published its consultation on plain packaging for tobacco products in the UK.

James Lowman, chief executive of ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) said: “We welcome the opportunity of this consultation to set out the reasons why plain packs will be a major burden to local shops across the UK.

“If every tobacco product looks the same it will be much harder for retailers and their staff to locate product on the shelf this will make serving customers slower and make stock management harder. We will provide further details of retail costs to the consultation.

“We also fear that consumers that are used to buying certain brands will react against plain packs and seek them out from the illegal trade. The result would be more consumers placed at the mercy of unscrupulous criminals that run the black market and further loss of trade for legitimate retailers.

“Finally we will be asking Ministers to recognize that it would be wrong to impose such a measure at a time when the tobacco display ban is still to be fully implemented.  Imposing a whole new burden on business when an existing one is still yet to be implemented is far from the business friendly regulation that Government have repeatedly promised."