Tobacco warning notice – what you need to know

A couple of weeks ago I visited a village shop that I have known for over 50 years. It’s a shop that changed hands a few years ago it was sold to new owners who have invested their own money to bring it up to the standards of a modern convenience store. What was a very tired grocers which had not seen any investment since the 1970’s has become a real asset to the community it serves. I know this because my Dad is one of their customers and he regularly tells me how they keep improving their offer.

On my recent visit I looked at the new notices put up since they refitted earlier this year and spotted that their Tobacco Warning Notice was not correct. The  Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991 states:

(1)A notice displaying the following statement— “It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18” shall be exhibited at every premises at which tobacco is sold by retail, and shall be so exhibited in a prominent position where the statement is readily visible to persons at the point of sale of the tobacco; and where—
(a)any person carries on a business involving the sale of tobacco by retail at any premises, and
(b)no notice is exhibited at those premises in accordance with this subsection,that person shall be guilty of an offence.

The notice in this store stated the it is illegal to buy tobacco product by anyone under the age of 18. While I am sure all tobacco retailers would wish this to be the case sadly it isn’t.

The law requires retailers to have an A3 notice with the wording required by the 1991 Act. It has to be in a prominent position clearly visible to to customers at the point of sale. The only defence tobacco retailers have is that of due diligence.

Our guidance is that you should check the notice that you have in your store and check that you have the correct wording. If it is correct make a record of the action you have taken. If it is not correct or you don’t have a Tobacco Warning Notice ask your supplier for a correct sign for you to display.

For further information about selling tobacco legally we suggest that you contact your local Trading Standards Department.


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