New research commissioned by delivered wholesaler Palmer & Harvey shows that retailers have major concerns about the impact of new tobacco rules on their business and customers.

The new legislation, which came into force on 20 May, sees the introduction of plain packaging, an increase in minimum pack sizes, bans on price-marked packs, and smaller e-cigarette refills with lower nicotine content.

According to the research, most shopkeepers fear the switch to plain packaging, and other changes, will mean higher costs, lower revenues and more illicit tobacco. Also retailers expect the changes to increase demand for e-cigarettes and vaping.

The findings came from a survey of more than 130 retailers at Palmer & Harvey’s annual Pro Retail show.

Martyn Ward, managing director of Palmer & Harvey, said: “The new tobacco laws are a significant change for the convenience retail industry. Store owners expect them to add complexity and cost to their business.

“There is also the prospect of more illicit trade in tobacco products and smaller stores struggling to stay afloat, threatening a vital social and economic hub for local communities.

“Palmer & Harvey has been busy speaking with our customers to support them through a period of greater uncertainty and regulatory burden. We have been very active in helping local stores come up with plans to navigate through these changes.”