Groceries in Sharjah say a possible ban on cigarette sales would kill their business prospects.
Owners who spoke to 'Emirates24|7' on condition of anonymity said, while profit on cigarettes are a bit low, it contributes to the sale of additional products.
“It would be a death knell to lot of groceries, that mainly survive on sale of cigarettes,” warned one of the grocery store owner in Al Khan.
This follows media reports that groceries and supermarket in residential areas could be banned from selling cigarettes, not just for minors, but for anybody.
According to media reports, the new directive would be implemented following approval from Sharjah Executive Council.
Grocery stores said they are yet to receive any notification about a possible ban on Cigarette sales in residential areas.
“We have been following a strict ban on sale of cigarettes to minors all these years. At times kids come asking for cigarettes for their dad or mom. But we just turn them away,” said Hassan from Kerala in India who has been running the grocery for almost four years now.
Groceries have also been banned from selling cigarettes in loose. “The rule has been on for a few years now. Adults only buy full packets,” said Rashed S N from another grocery in Sharjah.
According to him the business is down and a ban on cigarette sales could further dent their profit margins.
“The profit margins on cigarette sales are actually less. But a customer who comes to buy cigarette also buys a bottle of water or a juice. This is what keeps us going,” he said.