So, within a few years, retailers of tobacco products will have to keep them under the counter or in closed cabinets. As is often the case, the Filthy Smoker deals with this far more eloquently (and profanely) than I could ever do. It also raises the question of exactly how smokers are meant to know which outlets stock cigarettes, what brands are available and at what prices. The tobacco manufacturers won’t really be that bothered, as it will do little to cut smoking rates and effectively kill price competition stone dead.
And is this a chilling vision of how pubs and off-licences will be in twenty years’ time, with no alcoholic drinks on display and customers having to ask for them by name? In such a climate, the opportunities to launch new products or set up new breweries would be absolutely zero.