Council sting finds more shops selling tobacco to children

A cigarette counter
A cigarette counter

An undercover investigation by Aberdeenshire Council Trading Standards officers has found more shops selling cigarettes to children in the area.

In the year up to March 2013, 39 test purchase visits were conducted using 16-year-old volunteers.

A total of 13 sales were made, 30% of the test purchases, resulting in warning letters being issued to retailers and their staff.

In the case of one repeat sale, a Fixed Penalty Notice was issued to the retailer. This was unpaid and a report submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

The previous year, 27 test purchases were carried out, resulting in six sales.

The law prohibits the sale of cigarettes to under-18s and buying cigarettes on their behalf.

It also requires the registration of tobacco retailers and recently introduced a ban on tobacco displays in larger shops.

Local authorities have a duty, under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, to prevent the sale of tobacco to young children.

Trading Standards Manager, Wilma Urquhart, said: “These figures show an upward trend in retailers either willing to sell, or inadvertently selling, cigarettes to under-18s.”