Increasing the legal minimum age of sale for tobacco products from 16 to 18 years of age has created a difficult situation for retailers. They are indeed already used to asking for ID for sales of alcohol but in the case of tobacco sales the law leaves them less well protected.
Following concerns expressed by shopkeepers when the sale of tobacco products was introduced that they could face threats and intimidation from young customers, Brighton Pavilion Labour and Co-operative MP David Lepper is supporting a call in the Commons to serve fixed penalty notices on under 18s who try to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.
David says, “I back the increase to 18 as the legal age for sales. In many of the shops where tobacco is sold staff will already be used to enforcing the laws on alcohol sales. I've backed the NO ID NO Sale campaign to provide proof of age cards for 18 year olds.
"As I have said in the past it’s the shop staff who must be in the front line. But I've listened to the case put by the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Retail Consortium that staff would have greater protection from threats if the law could be enforced against those who try to buy underage - as is the case with alcohol."
The Early Day Motion put forward in Parliament by Labour MP Dawn Butler and supported by David Lepper says, "That this House welcomes the increased legal minimum age of sale for tobacco products from 16 to 18 years of age; notes that, according to a recent survey by the British Retail Consortium, retail crime has increased by 50 per cent. notes retailers' concern that they may face intimidation or violence as a result of the change and that smaller independent retailers are at greatest risk; further notes that fixed penalty notices can be issued to those under the age of 18 years who attempt to buy alcohol; considers that if it was an offence for those under the age of 18 years to attempt to purchase tobacco this would act as a deterrent to children from doing so and relieve pressure on shop owners and reduce potential violence; and calls upon the Government to bring forward proposals to bring into line the legal penalties for the attempted purchase of tobacco with that of alcohol as well as increasing support in all areas for under 18s to quit smoking."
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