The HMRC legislation, introduced on 20 May, aims to reduce illicit tobacco sales through unique codes on tobacco packaging. When sold, wholesalers scan these and log them with a retailer customer’s unique ID. 

Freedom of information requests by betterRetailing uncovered 20 tobacco industry submissions to HMRC. They reveal serious concerns and flaws yet to be addressed by the government. One submission, revealed to be from the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, warned that equipment and software costs for wholesalers would be passed on to retailers and would lead to further price rises. “Such costs cannot be absorbed, especially when gross margins range from 0.2% to 2%. T&T costs will ultimately be passed on to the consumer,” it said.