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Retailers might stop selling cigarettes if tobacco licence fee goes up

That’s according to the National Federation of Retail Newsagents.

Image: Tobacco via Shutterstock

A GROUP OF retailers has written to TDs over the proposed rise in the tobacco license fee.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN), which has 500 members, believes that retailers are an “easy target” for Government and that the fee might cause legitimate retailers to leave the market.

NFRN Ireland has now written to all TDs asking them to oppose plans for the tobacco licence fee to be increased to €500.

In June 2014, the then Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, obtained Cabinet approval to pursue plans to introduce the higher tobacco license fee, estimated to be €500, with the variance in the cost between supermarkets and independents to be determined.

NFRN Ireland said it is “vehemently opposed to the measure” as “once again legitimate retailers are a soft target for Government whilst criminals profit greatly from the illicit tobacco trade”.

Selling tobacco

NFRN Ireland’s Public Affairs Manager Deirdre Drennan said that some retailers will decide the profit they are making from tobacco products does not justify the fee, and will choose to no longer sell tobacco.

“As legitimate retailers leave the market there is scope for criminals to increase their market share and earn additional profits,” she stated.

Retailers are responsible in how they sell age related products as they continuously ask for ID and comply with all other regulations, yet criminals can sell cigarettes to children at a pocket money price point and face little or no consequence.

The Department of Health said:

Under current legislation any retailer wishing to sell tobacco products, whether over the counter or from a self-service vending machine, must already register with the HSE National Tobacco Control Office, be placed on the Retail Register for the sale of tobacco products and pay a registration fee. However, there is a significant anomaly in that registration is applied per retailer, rather than by premises. This means that multiple retailers like supermarket chains make a single payment, regardless of the number of outlets they have. It is proposed that this new measure will address that anomaly by licensing the sale of tobacco products in line with Tobacco Free Ireland, Ireland’s tobacco control policy. It was outlined by former Health Minister James Reilly in the last Budget.

Read: Australia’s plain cigarette packaging has not given a boost to the illicit tobacco trade>

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