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