ACS: stub out black market

The government has been urged to do more to tackle the black market in cigarettes after publishing its strategy to reduce smoking by half by 2020.

It has recommended the introduction of more measures to stop the flow of cheap tobacco into the UK from abroad, but the Association of Convenience Stores said more needed to be done at home.

Chief executive James Lowman said: “It still does not address the issue of black market racketeers on the street. There needs to be a focus on inland enforcement, spearheaded by tougher penalties for bootleggers, and greater investment.”?The strategy ruled out licensing for tobacco retailers and pledged to look more closely at the possibility of plain packaging for cigarettes.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “The only remaining method of advertising tobacco is the packaging, so we will carefully consider whether there is evidence for making tobacco companies use plain packets.”?Lowman at the ACS said: “If it is something the government is going to?implement, we would question why it is also continuing with the tobacco display ban.”