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Warning to West Northants shops selling tobacco products to minors

Trading Standards

15 November 2022

a smoking cigarette

Two shops sold an e-cigarette to a 16-year-old girl during a test purchasing operation carried out by West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Trading Standards team last month.

The girl, under the supervision of Trading Standards’ officers, visited eight shops across Daventry and Northampton in October in order to attempt to buy e-cigarettes and cigarettes. The legal age to buy these in the UK is 18.

Six out of eight shops correctly asked for her ID and refused the sale when she could not produce any.

However, two shops sold the girl an e-cigarette making no attempt to ask for proof of age from the underage girl, and will now face further investigation by WNC’s Trading Standards team.

"Young people will always push the boundaries and will want to try new things. But tobacco is highly addictive and has significant health implications and should not be sold to children.

"I’m sure parents across West Northants will join me in thanking our Trading Standards team for keeping a constant watch for shop keepers who forget the duty of care they owe to their community as they break the law in this way."
Cllr David Smith, WNC’s Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement and regulatory services

All the shops chosen for the exercise were the subject of complaints over underage sales, and shopkeepers across West Northamptonshire are being reminded of the proof-of-age checks they must make before selling tobacco or e-cigarettes.

Most businesses operate a Challenge 25 policy. If a customer looks under the age of 25, proof of age is required, and staff must be trained to verify the customer’s age before selling age-restricted products.

It follows previous operations in April and August when two out of the 18 shops visited sold e-cigarettes to a 16-year-old girl.

WNC continue their commitment to monitoring the illegal sale of products to those who are underage in the West Northants.

Anyone can report underage sales to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or to find out more, visit the Trading Standards website.

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