Selling age restricted products needs discipline. Sell tobacco to someone under 18 years old can seriously damage a retailer’s wealth. The Coventry Telegraph recently reported that a Durnchurch newsagent was found guilty of selling cigarettes to a 15 year old. He was fined £270 and ordered to pay costs of £1180.25.

In their advice to retailers Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards they say:

‘You must not sell tobacco or cigarette papers to anyone under 18 – ‘tobacco’ is defined widely and, in addition to tobacco for smoking, includes tobacco products for oral or nasal use (e.g. snuff), and smoking mixtures intended as a substitute for tobacco (e.g. herbal cigarettes)’

The Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991 gives retailers one defence, due diligence. Retailers need to have a process that works every time.

Ways to protect yourself

  • Train staff and record the fact and get staff to sign the record.
  • Regularly give staff refresher training and record the fact.
  • Don’t try a guess a customers age, see proof of age.
  • Use Challenge 25 to give a good cushion for estimating age.
  • Record all refused sales.
  • Review age issues regularly with your employees.
  • Keep records.

If you need advice on this issue you could start by giving your local Trading Standards department a call.