Store’s alert over contraband cigs

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Plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging could spell bad news for businesses, according to one shop owner.

Rish Madhanji, who runs CJ Stores in Stokenchurch, believes that introducing plain packs could lead to a rise in illicit and counterfeit tobacco.

He said: “I think it a bad thing because it would encourage some stores to sell under the counter black market tobacco products.

“Let’s be honest, a lot of people would be quite happy to buy something a lot cheaper and there are a lot of unscrupulous shops out there that would sell these products.

“The way the economy is everyone is trying to save money and this would have a very negative impact.”

Mr Madhanji has taken part in an investigation commissioned by the Philip Morris International tobacco company, looking at the illicit trade in cigarettes, and says that any new regulations will not make people want to stop smoking.

He said: “Another thing that has had a negative impact is having to have dark displays, because people cannot see their brand, the shop assistant also has to turn around and it takes longer to get the cigarettes so that creates a 
security issue.

“I don’t think this is going to have any type of positive effect; if someone underage want to smoke they are 
going to smoke.

“If people want to smoke it is their freedom of choice and the government should not dictate to people what they should and shouldn’t be doing.”