Retailers are being urged to challenge young buyers for ID when purchasing tobacco products
Retailers across South Ayrshire are being urged not to turn a blind eye to tobacco sales to underage buyers. The call comes from the Council's Trading Standards service after a round of test purchasing revealed that a 16 year old volunteer was illegally sold cigarettes from two different shops.
Trading Standards Officers attempted test purchases at 11 locations using a trained volunteer who was 16 at the time. Although sales were refused at nine premises, the young person was sold cigarettes from two shops. In one case the shop assistant sold to the volunteer even after proof of age was provided showing her to be only 16, two years below the legal limit.
On this occasion £200 fixed penalty notices were issued to the salespeople and one of the owners of the businesses involved. However further sales could result in reports to the Procurator Fiscal which could lead to the retailers being banned from selling tobacco products.
Mike Newall, South Ayrshire Council's Head of Neighbourhood Services, said, "Smoking has a massive impact peoples' health and we remain committed to protecting young people from these dangers from irresponsible sales practices.
"We selected the premises targeted in the latest operation after a round of standard checks and following a number of complaints from the public.
"In one of these sales it was particularly frustrating for us and to the business owner that the salesperson correctly asked for proof of age, was provided with acceptable ID but neglected to actually read the information on it.
"Although the health risks from smoking cigarettes and tobacco are well known, it's particularly important to restrict the supply of tobacco to young people to help prevent the start of a lifelong addiction."
Any business that requires guidance on compliance with rules regarding the sale of age restricted products such as tobacco, should contact Trading Standards who will be happy to arrange an advisory visit. Their contact details are: Tel: 01292 616 060 or firstname.lastname@example.org