Tobacco law needs to change, says ACS

27 November, 2007

The Association of Convenience Stores is calling for a change in the law which would make it illegal for adults to buy tobacco for children.

The current law, changed on Oct 1, makes it illegal for under-18s to buy tobacco, but not for adults to buy it for them.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Most people will be surprised to know that an adult that buys cigarettes from a shop and then walks outside and hands them over to a child is not breaking the law. We are calling on the government to make these irresponsible actions illegal so as to punish and deter adults that encourage underage smoking.”

The call comes as the government is due to introduce new legislation as part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill on Thursday. Changes include bringing in stricter penalties for retailers who are caught selling tobacco to young people three times.

Lowman said without also taking serious action against those that supply underage smokers, the other change will make no difference.

Lowman added: “Retailers accept that to sell cigarettes they must comply with strict laws, and if they break those laws they face stiff penalties. However, sanctions against retailers alone are simply not enough.

"This government must also deter young smokers from trying to buy, and take strong action against those that supply tobacco to under-18s. It’s not only fair; it is the only way to challenge the attitudes of young people."

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