Under 18s sold tobacco by retailers
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During a recent test purchase check, which took place on Saturday 18 August, four out of 11 retailers visited sold hand rolling tobacco to the volunteers who were aged 16 and 17.
Cllr Claire Young, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Communities Committee, said: “I am disappointed to see that over one-third of the retailers failed the test purchase.
“The health of our young is of great importance and South Gloucestershire Council will not tolerate the sale of tobacco to minors.”
Tobacco products and cigarette papers should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and any person who sells these products to young people can be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £2500.
It is estimated that each year in England around 340,000 young people under the age of 16 who have never smoked before try smoking cigarettes and one of the factors said to influence them to start smoking tobacco is the ease of obtaining cigarettes.
Young people who smoke increase their risk of dying prematurely from diseases such as cancer, chronic obstructive airway disease, coronary heart disease and stroke, and are up to six times more susceptible to coughs and increased phlegm, wheeziness, shortness of breath and adverse changes in blood cholesterol than those who do not smoke.
Mark Pullin, Strong, Safer Communities Manager, said: “We are pleased that the majority of retailers challenged the volunteers for proof of age and subsequently refused to sell them tobacco. However, smoking has both short and long term implications to youngsters’ health and those retailers who did sell tobacco to the volunteers are currently being investigated by Trading Standards.”
Anyone who would like to report underage sales of age-restricted products should contact Trading Standards on 0845 040506 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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