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40% of shops in England fail underage purchase tests says CTSI

Posted 16/10/19

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) today released the Tobacco Control Survey report for England 2018-19. The survey, supported by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), publishes the findings of the supply of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products to young people under the age of 18 in England.

Test purchase operations with underage young persons at retail premises found that 40%  of the 227 tested premises failed to undertake age checks and subsequently made illegal sales of nicotine inhaling products to underage consumers. This figure was a significant rise compared to last year's report when 28% of shops made illegal sales. The majority of shops making illegal sales were vaping establishments.

Decisions to investigate specific businesses with test purchases were intelligence-led. Local councils may have received complaints about the business, or it may have failed a previous test purchase.

The rate of prosecution of local businesses for underage nicotine product sales stands at 2%. While this is a low figure, councils tend to approach local businesses with a supportive philosophy that seeks to improve local business practices. A prosecution is a last resort. Support methods may include advice, guidance, or signposting to Business Companion, a website that explains UK trading standards law.

Speaking about the report on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, CTSI Chief Executive, Leon Livermore said that he supports banning flavoured vaping products which may be more attractive to young people. Mr Livermore also commented on funding cuts that have reduced Trading Standards resources by over 50% over the past decade: "I'd say to the government, if you want your policies delivered effectively, you need to provide appropriate funding and resources through to the front line."


Notes for Editors:

The full report may be found by clicking here.

For press queries, email CTSI Press Office: [email protected], or call 01268 582240.

Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the trading standards profession since 1881, both nationally and internationally. It aims to raise the profile of the profession while working towards a safer, fairer, and better-informed society for consumers and businesses. CTSI’s members deliver frontline trading standards services in local authorities. www.tradingstandards.uk.





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