By Andrew Starke
Philip Morris International (PMI) has hit back at groups advocating a total ban on the display of tobacco products in retail stores via a new website.
The cigarette giant supports effective regulation but opposes a total ban on the display of tobacco products in stores.
“A number of countries are investigating a ban on display of tobacco products in retail stores,” said PMI’s director of regulatory communications, Morgan Rees.
“There is limited information in the public domain that describes experiences from countries that have banned display and so we felt that it would be useful to create a website that provides information on the effectiveness of the ban, as well as to describe its impact on adult smokers, retailers, tobacco manufacturers and enforcement agencies.”
To date four countries – Australia, Canada, Iceland and Ireland – have prohibited the display of tobacco products at point of sale.
The new website can be accessed by clicking here.
Meanwhile, Donegal newsagent and National Federation of Retail Newsagents member, Maurice Timony, last week lodged a High Court challenge to contest the Irish Governments ban on tobacco display.
“I am a licensed retailer who pays a license fee to the government to sell tobacco products,” he said.
“Currently, the country is swamped in legislation that is making life very difficult for compliant retailers like me. The ban on display of cigarettes is just one example of a piece of over regulation that has not been well thought through and has negatively affected my business.”
The Irish government was the most recent to prohibit the display of tobacco products.
Timony is backed by Philip Morris in the joint lawsuit which seeks to overturn the ban on the display of tobacco products at retail stores in Ireland.
PMI has seven of the world’s top 15 cigarette brands including Malboro, the number one cigarette brand worldwide.
In 2008, the Company held an estimated 15.6 percent share of the total international cigarette market outside of the United States.