Crackdown on shops selling tobacco to kids in Lichfield and Burntwood

Cigarettes. Pic: Nick Perla

Cigarettes. Pic: Nick Perla

Shops which sell cigarettes to children in Lichfield and Burntwood are being targeted by trading standards officials as part of a county-wide crackdown.

The move is part of an attempt by Staffordshire County Council’s officials to reduce their figures even further below the national average.

It has been illegal to sell cigarettes and other tobacco goods to people under the age of 18 since October 2007 and the majority of retailers in Staffordshire who sell these products do abide by the law – something confirmed by recent test purchases undertaken by Trading Standards, in which 59 premises made up of both large and small retailers were visited by volunteers aged 15 and 16.

Only three of the premises visited sold cigarettes to underage purchasers, equating to a five per cent failure rate, well below the national average of 20 per cent.

A number of other tobacco product test purchases were also carried out in Staffordshire in February this year resulting in five sales from the 51 test purchases. Retests three months later at the premises who sold the goods resulted in no further underage sales.

County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture said:

“The latest Staffordshire results are positive, showing that premises selling tobacco products in the county are working in partnership with us to ensure that young people can not purchase cigarettes for them.

“We heavily support the Challenge 25 ID scheme and encourage retailers to ask for identification if they think the purchaser looks younger than 25. This relates to any age restricted goods including alcohol and we have been working closely with licensed premises throughout the county to educate them about the importance of not flouting the law in relation to underage sales.

“We will carry on with this work, particularly with the few premises who did sell illegally, to ensure that the message continues to spread that this is not tolerated in Staffordshire.”

Acceptable forms of identification include passports, photo driving licences or proof of age cards bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram, which is the hallmark indicating that the card issuer has passed a stringent and rigorous audit process carried out by Trading Standards Officers and can be relied upon.

Anyone who is concerned about sales of tobacco can contact Staffordshire Trading Standards Confidential on 01785 330356.

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