Tobacco reliance

I am glad that John Lee of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) (Letters, 23 July) noticed my report that while the introduction of plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products in Australia has left smokers less inclined to use the product, it has not caused disruption for small retailers.

This should reassure his organisation, and retailers across Scotland, that the impact of standard packs will be to continue the long-term decline in tobacco use, leaving a credible time frame for retailers to reduce their reliance on cigarette sales.

Responsible retailers will not want to prolong the great harm caused by tobacco use in the communities they serve. Those seeking a sustainable business model cannot rely on a product in serious ongoing decline as a result of the various measures John Lee denounces.

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I am aware that tobacco companies contribute substantially to the Scottish Grocers’ Federation’s funding.

John Lee needs to decide whether he will continue to stand with tobacco companies in opposing measures to reduce tobacco use and hence their profits, or instead will he and SGF support small retailers whose interests lie in diversifying to other, less harmful products which can sustain their businesses into the future?

Sheila Duffy

ASH Scotland