Tobacco Tax Increase Places Retailers at Risk
The increase in tobacco excise forced through Parliament by the Government last night has now made tobacco products a
valuable commodity and places retailers at a greater risk of robberies, says the Association of Community Retailers.
ACR founding member and spokesman, Richard Green, said today that the rise in the price of tobacco has now made smokers’
products more valuable and attractive to criminal groups.
Combined with current proposals on the table to ban the display of tobacco products from the retail environment, there
are calls for tobacconists who sell only tobacco and tobacco-related products to have their store windows obscured so
that people cannot see tobacco products from the street.
“This puts responsible tobacconists like me at huge safety risks. It is nothing for a couple of criminals to walk into
my shop, close the door, assault me and steal my tobacco stock – all without being seen because my windows will have to
be blacked out under the new rules,” Mr Green said.
All retailers, including dairies, convenience stores and petrol stations, will now be at greater risk to their safety.
The tax excise hike will make their premises more susceptible to burglaries at night.
“The government increased tobacco excise at least three times in the last decade all on the basis that it would stop
people from smoking. It hasn’t. There is a general reduction throughout the Western world, but there is no silver bullet
for making people stop smoking.
“It’s unfortunate because this latest move has only put retailers in a riskier situation,” Mr Green said.