Tobacco control proposals would place “significant cost and time burdens” on retailers, the ACS has warned.

The ‘track and trace’ system put forward by the Government would require retailers selling tobacco to register and pay a fee to receive a unique retailer code.

Writing to treasury minister Andrew Jones, ACS chief executive James Lowman said stricter enforcement of current laws would be a better option.

However, some retailers impacted by the illicit trade have said they would be willing to pay the fee as it would be offset by increased legitimate sales if the black market is reduced. It is currently estimated by the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance that the average independent shop loses £34,237 a year due to the illicit trade.

Arif Ahmed of Ahmed Newsagents in Coventry told Retail Express: “If the Government isn’t willing to do it, retailers will have to play a bigger role in tackling illicit sellers.”

New Today’s Group MD Darren Goldney told Retail Express that any move to tackle the illicit trade should be commended, but that the benefits should be balanced against the resource and financial commitments required from both wholesalers and retailers.

The track and trace proposals formed part of the European Union's 2013 Tobacco Products Directive