National Federation of Retail Newsagents Backs Newsagent Member in Tobacco Lawsuit

Donegal newsagent and NFRN member Maurice Timony will tomorrow morning lodge a High Court challenge to contest the Irish Governments ban on tobacco display. He is backed by the world’s largest cigarette company Philip Morris in the joint lawsuit which seeks to overturn the ban on the display of tobacco products at retail stores in Ireland.

While the NFRN supports the Governments intentions on public health, a display ban is simply bad policy. Firstly, it is ineffective in stopping children smoking and helping adults quit. Secondly, without a coherent approach it will lead to further significant growth in illegal smuggled and counterfeit tobacco products – as already experienced in Ireland – to the detriment of both public health and retailers’ livelihoods. Similarly, the NFRN`s newsagent members in the UK are not being listened to – NFRN members do not wish to resort to legal action but we may have no other options left open to us.

Stefan Wojciechowski from the NFRN stated, “Levels of illegal tobacco in Ireland has doubled over the past two years. Today, nearly one in three packets avoids excise tax revenue and are especially targeted at children by the criminal underworld. Increasing numbers of newsagents are being approached to handle these products and our concern is that those approaches could become more menacing possibly leading to protection racketeering. Governments must understand that any domestic tobacco market operates in a global marketplace and without stringent border controls, their strategies and policies must be sensitive and avoid creating a vacuum.”


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