Beset on all sides by Mother Grundies, the ASA and urban sophisticates tooting on e-cigarettes, their sharp features lit by the lurid blue glow from the LED on the tip, the tobacco industry must now face one more hurdle on the path to final extinction. This time, it’s draft regulations which are aimed at limiting the display of tobacco products in stores, confining them to an area not exceeding 4m² in the case of a specialist tobacconist, or 1m² in the case of wholesalers and retailers, but only those retail outlets which are bigger than 15m2. In addition, only one pack of each variant would be permitted to show itself. The industry claims that it has not been consulted on the move, and is concerned that it will force thousands of outlets to make structural changes to their trading space.
Comment: Omelette, eggs, as far as the DoH is concerned. As far as the fiscus goes, however, Tobacco is worth around R12bn per year, a sum not to be sniffed, sneezed or indeed coughed at, if you get our drift.