Tobacco ban will increase shoplifting and aggressive customers | UK | News

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Tobacco ban will increase shoplifting and aggressive customers | UK | News

Shop workers will have to deal with an increase in aggressive customers when a government ban on tobacco sales to younger people comes in to force, warns an official study.

The Department of Health has admitted the smoking ban, first announced by Rishi Sunak at last year’s Tory conference, risks exposing retailers to more verbal abuse.

The “generational ban”, which will increase the minimum smoking age by one year every year, ultimately means only people born before January 1, 2009, will be allowed to buy tobacco.

This will mean that in time customers in their 30s and 40s , who are not usually asked to prove their age, will be asked to show ID.

Stores currently operate the Challenge25 policy, which means people must prove their age to buy tobacco or alcohol if they look under 25. But the Association of Convenience Stores, which represents more than 49,000 local shops, has warned the new policy will lead to confrontations.

And an official impact assessment published by the department has now agreed. It stated: “The policy could lead to an increase in the number of people that are checked for ID when purchasing tobacco, which could lead to an increase in aggression and abuse towards retail workers.”

This will add to the burden faced by shopkeepers already struggling with a shoplifting epidemic.

An annual survey by the association found staff had faced 41,000 incidents of violence in the past year – with one-in-four shop workers saying they had noticed an increase. There were more than 759,000 incidents of verbal abuse.

James Lowman, the association’s chief executive, said: “The generational ban will introduce new requirements for retailers that will be unique to the tobacco category, and will in time end the highly successful Challenge25 policy.

“The ban will have a financial impact. Despite declining smoking rates and more smokers switching to vaping, tobacco is still the biggest sales category by value for many convenience stores.”

The Government estimates retailers will lose £2.29billion in profits over 30 years as a result of the ban, including £622million lost by small shops – working out at £21,400 on average. The Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which also ends the sale of disposable vapes, is to be debated by MPs on April 16.

Cet article est apparu en premier en ANGLAIS sur https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1886512/tobacco-ban-shoplifting-aggressive-customers


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