A row has broken out at the Bluewater Shopping Centre (Kent) over pick and mix cigarettes being on clear view of children. The new feature, supplied by British American Tobacco, (BAT) is believed to be in response to the “Plain Packaging” campaign, championed by so many health professionals, charities and politicians.
On a recent interview for the BBC's early evening Newsround programme, BAT Marketing Director,Jean-Marc Lévy, was very up beat “It looks like we have beaten the nambies at their own game. We don't even supply packets any more! Put that in your pipe!”
Customers collect a small white paper bag, adorned with pictures of flowers and Pokémon characters, then walk round the tantalizing display of loose, brightly coloured cigarettes, taking scoops of their preferred colour before they are then weighed at the till. Customers can collect loyalty points to earn rewards including cinema tickets, red letter days, Jack Wills clothing vouchers, Sherbet Dips and lollipops. Mr Lévy, denied claims that it is to try and attract the children lost by the proposed “Plain Packaging” legislation. “It is ridiculous to think we are trying to attract children. We are always looking to expand our business in this ill-informed climate of health scaremongering of the business and we have to look at all the options.”
The designer of the the stand, Jane Birtchington (14) from Gravesend in Kent, won the design contest after seeing it advertised in between programs on the Disney Channel.
She told a local radio station.“I think it looks so cool. I think I might try the thin sky blue ones, they're called Fuzzy Heaven Surprise, but I'll have to wait until my friend is working there on Saturdays.”
In a survey it was seen that half of long term smokers die from a smoking related disease. In response to this Mr Lévy said, “Really?”
It is rumoured that BAT intends to open concessions at Lakeside Shopping Centre, the new Westfield shopping Centre next to the 2012 Olympic Stadium and Wilkinsons. Mr Lévy said that the suggestion of giving away small envelopes containing a variety of coloured and Haribo scented cigarettes with McDonald's Happy Meals was a good Idea and could he have my number?