Manchester shopkeepers lash out at government’s latest ‘out of sight, out of mind’ smoking measures

By Calum Leahy, Kathryn Cummings, Davie Heaton & Liam Barnes

Manchester shopkeepers have slammed the government’s new tobacco control measures.

Tobacco products will need to be out of sight in shops, except in limited circumstances. The legislation will come into place for large stores in April next year and in 2015 for smaller shops.

The government hope that the law will reduce the number of potential young smokers, but the proposals have not gone down well with tobacconists.

“They’ve stiffed us,” said John Rastegar, owner of Lakeland’s Groceries on Deansgate.

“It’s going to make our business harder to run. It’s the government playing Big Brother again.”

Mubarak Pax, owner of Euronews on Oxford Road said: “It’s a waste of time changing the law.  People will still buy cigarettes.”

Not all the reaction was negative however. Amanda Sandford, research manager at Action on Smoking and Health, said: “It is something we have been campaigning for.”

“We hoped the ban would come into force in October this year but overall we are pleased.”

But Christopher Ogden, Chief Executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, said that there was no evidence to support the ban.

“The coalition parties were opposed to the ban before the general election in 2010 and we hope they will review the legislation again and decide to revoke it,” he said.

Smokers in Manchester were divided on the issue.

Joe Dolan, a smoker from Oldham, said: “It won’t stop adults, but it might be good for kids.

“I started smoking when I was 12 but there’s a chance I wouldn’t have done if this kind of law had been in place.”

However Carole Knowles, from Openshaw, said: “It’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

“Kids aren’t stupid, they’ll still know the cigarettes are there and just follow what their mates are doing.”

Do you think the new measures will work?  Have your say by using the comments box below.

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