The plan to implement plain packaging for cigarettes will hurt retailers and cause confusion in the industry, claims a leading pressure group.
Chief executive of the Association of Convenience stores James Lowman says the regulations will make it harder for retailers to accurately control stock and place orders and will increase the time it takes to serve customers.
He said: “Ministers have consistently failed to accept the evidence about how disruptive and burdensome recent tobacco control measures have been for the tens of thousands of retailers that have to actually implement them.
Tobacco is the most commonly bought product in the 50,000 convenience stores in Britain (20.1 per cent.)
The government supported plain packaging but then dropped the plan in July 2013 – amid suspicions that lobbyist Lynton Crosby had persuaded Prime Minister David Cameron not to pursue it.
Ministers will announce regulations on Thursday which will greatly please doctors and health ministers who have become increasingly worried that the government deadline would not be met.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation said: “Tobacco is a killer product and it is misleading for it to be presented in glitzy packaging. Every day of delay allows the tobacco industry to tempt more young people into adopting a deadly habit.”
Australia became the first ever country to introduce plain packaging, while New Zealand and France say they will follow suit.