Irish retailer Joe Sweeney has launched his own plain packaging research by carrying out an independent investigation in Australia.

Australia tobacco plain packaging

The independent retailer is travelling to three cities in ten days to visit Australian independent retailers, the Australian Retail Association and the Australian Association of Convenience Stores.

He aims to use the visit to understand the impact that plain packaging has had on the illicit tobacco trade, from a retailer’s perspective, and if the policy has placed an extra burden on small businesses.

“I am getting the same message from everyone I’ve spoken to: plain packaging isn’t making any difference to sales but it’s causing a lot of problems for retailers trying to keep track of stock,” Sweeney said.

As a national councillor for the NFRN he is writing a blog of his travels for the Federation, but is travelling independently. His long term goal is to reveal his findings to politicians to provoke conversation.

He said: “When I get home I want to try and get this message across to politicians to stop pushing these waste of time, feel good regulations, that will not work to stop people smoking.”

Australia introduced plain packaging in 2012 and has been used as evidence for both sides of the plain packaging debate.