Citation Purves RI, Moodie C, Eadie D & Stead M (2019) The Response of Retailers in Scotland to the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations and Tobacco Products Directive. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 21 (3), pp. 309-313. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/nty181
With most marketing channels prohibited, the retail environment has assumed greater importance for tobacco companies, even in markets with a ban on the open display of tobacco products. Research has yet to qualitatively explore how retailers respond to standardized packaging in a country where this has been introduced.
As part of the DISPLAY study, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 24 small retailers in Scotland between May 23 and June 26, 2017; the interviews were conducted after The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations and the Tobacco Products Directive were fully implemented.
We found high retailer compliance with the legislation. With price-marked packs and packs containing less than 20 cigarettes and 30 g of rolling tobacco banned, retailers stated that this helped simplify ordering and stock management. The removal of price-marked packs also allowed them some flexibility to set their own prices, but many chose to stick closely to recommended retail price in order to remain competitive and avoid complaints from customers. In contrast to one of the tobacco industry’s arguments against standardized packaging, most retailers suggested that transaction times had not increased, even though the changes had only recently come into force.
This study challenges some of the arguments used against standardized packaging and provides an insight into the storage and pricing strategies adopted by retailers following the removal of price-marked packs.
This study explores the response of the retailers to the introduction of standardized tobacco packaging and provides an insight into the storage and pricing strategies adopted by retailers following the removal of price-marked packs. It explores the importance of the retailer in tobacco companies’ desire to maintain tobacco sales and challenges some of the arguments used against standardized packaging, such as an increase in transaction times. Countries seeking to introduce standardized packaging should monitor the experiences of retailers, preferably from preimplementation through to post implementation, to help understand how retailers respond to this policy and to inform compliance.
Keywords Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health