ACS boss slams tobacco licence idea

04 May, 2007

The Association of Convenience Stores has poured cold water over a call for retailers to have a tobacco licence.

ACS chief executive James Lowman claims the proposal instigated by the British Medical Association would be a "poorly targeted measure" .

Lowman, responding to a statement in a BMA report that called for tobacco licensing , said: "Licensing for all shops selling tobacco would impose significant costs and bureaucracy on responsible retailers.

"Rather than this poorly-targeted measure, more must be done to focus on the irresponsible minority who are caught selling tobacco to the under-aged but are only receiving a fraction of the maximum £2,500 fine available for the offence.

"Why invent new measures to catch all retailers when existing penalties are not being used effectively?"

Lowman added: "The whole community has a role to play . As it stands there is no punishment for a young person who buys or smokes tobacco .

"W e are disappointed that the BMA has not urged the government to make it illegal for a young person to attempt to buy tobacco when under-age, or to make it illegal for an adult to buy tobacco on behalf of someone under-age.

"These two measures are a vital part of a comprehensive approach to reducing under-age smoking ." Speaking at the ACS annual summit this week he added: " What people want is to see anyone who's not responsible punished properly ."

The ACS will consult with the Department of Health on the proposals.

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