News from the Scottish Government of the
“Enhanced Tobacco Sales Enforcement Programme” launched today. Under this scheme, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs and Trading Standards officers throughout Scotland will be working together to:
- stepping up enforcement of tobacco sales law to prevent underage cigarette sales; and
- stemming the flow of smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “With over a quarter of retailers willing to sell cigarettes to under 18s, it’s clearly an area that must be addressed.”
Colin Baxter from the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland added: “Trading Standards services across Scotland are determined to play their part in this important health initiative by reducing the availability of tobacco products to those under 18 years of age.”
A “sustained” test purchase programme to identify those who continue to sell to under 18s will be undertaken. Those retailers who flout the age restrictions will face legal sanctions, including a maximum fine of £2,500 upon conviction.
According to the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Abuse Survey (2006) 47 per cent of 13 year old smokers and 82 per cent of 15 year old smokers reported buying cigarettes from a shop. A recent trading standards operation in Glasgow found that a quarter of shopkeepers still sell cigarettes to 16 year olds.
Since October 1st 2007, the minimum age for buying cigarettes was raised to 18.
And, with the health risks of smoking all too clear now, it’s perhaps just as well this new crackdown is being launched.
Read here about how Superman helped in the fight against underage smoking back in 1980.