Following TMA’s Anti-Illicit Trade Poll Scotland Report 2015 and Imperial Tobacco’s Suspect it? Report it! anti-illicit trade campaign, we asked Scotland’s retailers about illicit trade in their area, who they would report it to and, most importantly, the effect illicit trade has on the wider industry.
Chris McCallum: Spar retailer
I am not aware of any illicit products being sold in the area at the moment but my old store in Ayr was in a rougher area and I was aware of illicit products being sold there. There’s certainly a wide issue that exists though. If I knew something was going on I would probably report it to Trading Standards because it is convenient, it’s easy to report information to them and they know how to tackle it. I would say that the illicit trade of tobacco is a massive threat to the industry. We don’t make a lot of money from cigarettes but they are a major footfall driver so illicit trading would obviously affect this in a big way.
David Mitchell: KeyStore Broadloan
I can’t say I have come across any illicit trade products being sold in the area where my shop is, in Renfrew. If I was aware of anything going on though, there is no doubt that I would report it because it is important that illicit trading is stamped out. We would probably inform the tobacco focus group that contacts us regularly. I don’t know if I have the authority to say whether the illicit trade is a big threat because we don’t have a problem but it is prominent in some areas, which undermines the effectiveness of taxation and causes other problems too.
Brian McCaughey: Londis Inveraray
Since we’re located in a rural area, we don’t have problems with the illicit trade of tobacco and if there was something going on, everyone would know about it since the shop is in a fairly tight-knit community. However, if there was a problem I would definitely report it, probably to the police because it needs to be reported in order for the problem to be tackled. Whether the illicit trade of tobacco is a threat to the c-store and tobacco industry is a hard one for me to answer because it doesn’t affect us on an individual basis however, if you take the bigger picture into account, I can imagine that it is a massive threat.
Chris Gallacher: Scotfresh
We don’t have any illicit trading problems here but I imagine it is a big issue in other areas. Trading Standards seems like the most obvious place to go with these issues so I would definitely report it to them. While I personally don’t have much experience with the trade of illicit tobacco, I do consider it to be a big problem in the industry. However, there is an increase in the amount of help out there for retailers, such as Imperial Tobacco’s anti-illicit trade campaign, to combat the threat that illicit tobacco poses to local communities and businesses.