Stubbing out illegal sales of tobacco this No Smoking Day
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
This 'No Smoking Day', (Wednesday 13 March), Hampshire County Council Trading Standards officers are reporting that more shops in Hampshire have been found to be selling cigarettes to children.
In test purchases carried out by Trading Standards' underage volunteers since July 2012 five shops out of 19, in Basingstoke, Chandler's Ford, Havant, Totton and Winchester did not challenge the age of the young person who was attempting to buy cigarettes. This compares to ten underage sales as a result of test purchases on 138 shops across Hampshire in the previous three years.
The maximum fine for selling tobacco to under 18's is £2,500 and for persistent selling, shops and staff can be banned from sales for up to 12 months.
In response to these test purchases, Trading Standards have formally warned and advised three businesses, one other is no longer trading following the cancellation of their alcohol licence for other similar alleged offences, and one matter is still under investigation.
Underage sales of tobacco is a priority for Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards which support businesses in preventing such sales. Officers are therefore urging the public to get in touch if they are aware of underage sales across Hampshire. People can contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service by calling 08454 04 05 06 or by emailing email@example.com
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, said: "It is disappointing that underage sales of tobacco have increased. However, Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards team is working closely with NHS colleagues to tackle the problem of illegal underage sales, and also help prevent tobacco getting into young hands, through awareness raising in schools, and support to quit. Helping shops refuse sales to young people is one element of reducing supply, as well as delaying the age at which young people start smoking.
"Test purchasing takes place as part of a wider programme of work to reduce the rate of smoking among young people locally, led jointly by NHS Hampshire and Hampshire County Council. In many cases Trading Standards relies on intelligence received from residents as most of the illegal sales identified by the team are as a direct result of a parent or member of the public reporting concerns to them. We would urge anyone who may be aware of any such sales to therefore report them to our Trading Standards officers. "
Dr Ruth Milton, Director of Public Health for NHS Hampshire said: "Currently, in England around 12% of 15 year olds smoke regularly, and in some parts of Hampshire, this rate is even higher. The NHS therefore offers young smokers crucial help to quit, through the Quit4Life
Stop Smoking Service. The Service offers free confidential advice and support for smokers of all ages through drop-in sessions, one-to-one help and a dedicated telephone support service with free patches and gum or a one off prescription payment. By stopping smoking, you can not only save money, you will also feel fitter and healthier, and reduce your risk of heart attacks and cancer."
Businesses needing help can contact Hampshire County Council Trading Standards on 01962 833620 or for more information and advice can visit our Underage Sales page.
Anyone wishing to report a shop for selling age restricted goods can fill in a form on the Hampshire County Council Trading Standards website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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