Barking and Dagenham shopkeepers hit out at cigarettes display ban

As tobacco displays are banned from supermarkets, newsagent staff who will be affected from 2015, have voiced their concerns.

Government legislation ruling that all tobacco products at large stores must be kept under the counter came into force on Friday. Ministers hope the move will deter people, especially youngsters, from smoking.

The regulations will not apply to smaller stores until 2015, but Depala Mahenda, co-owner of Foxes News, in Heathway, Dagenham, said: “I don’t agree with it. I could lose business because people may look in and think I don’t sell cigarettes and will go somewhere else

“I agree that people should smoke less but those who want to smoke, including young people, are going to smoke whether there are displays or not.”

Haran Cola, a shop assistant at Althorne News, in Althorne Way, Dagenham, said keeping tobacco under the counter would be impractical: “Firstly, you won’t be able to store as much down there, and it will take longer to find the ones the customers ask for. Also, we’ll probably have to show customers who don’t know what they want a catalogue of the different types – this is time consuming.

“I don’t believe less people will buy cigarettes. I don’t think the plans benefit anyone.”

Dagenham resident Corrinne Williams, who smokes, said hiding the display would not deter her: “If you want to smoke, you’ll buy cigarettes whether they are on display or not.”

Most Read

Miranda Watson, head of communications at the British Lung Foundation, said: “Putting tobacco out of sight in shops will go a long way to ensuring that young people are not tempted to start smoking in the first place.”