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Caithness News Bulletins December 2005
Trading Standards Tighten Up On Underage Cigarette
Sales From Vending Machines
Highland pub landlords are being warned they may face prosecution if they don't do more to stop children buying cigarettes from vending machines. A recent survey by Trading Standards Officers with The Highland Council has revealed pub vending machines could be seriously undermining efforts to prevent underage tobacco sales.
Officers found 38% of pubs and hotels visited had cigarette vending machines located in unsupervised areas such as corridors, vestibules and toilets, places so far from the bar that busy staff cannot properly supervise them, and could result in underage children easily obtaining cigarette without challenge.
Nigel Mackenzie, Head of Trading Standards, said: "It is against the law to sell cigarettes to children. Pub landlords and hoteliers have the same responsibility as other retailers when it comes to refusing sales. The onus is on them to place vending machines where staff can see them to make sure they are not being used by children."
"I applaud those landlords who are responsibly complying with the law, but we will be cracking down on those who don't act to stop children buying cigarettes. Responsible landlords wouldn't serve alcohol to children and they have the same responsibilities when it comes to selling cigarettes.
"We are currently providing guidance to all licensed premises in The Highland Council area on how they can try to prevent an illegal sale taking place from a cigarette vending machine.
"We will be carrying out a programme of test purchasing using child volunteers and any pub landlords and hoteliers who flout the law face being reported to the procurator fiscal."
The findings were discovered by officers as part of covert visits to Highland pubs and hotels looking at various issues including drinks price displays, overcharging and serving of measures. Officers also found almost 40% of licensed premises did not correctly display their prices.
Consumers with any concerns that a trader may be selling tobacco products to children can contact Highland Council's Trading Standards Unit by telephoning The Highland Council Consumer Helpline on 0845 600 4222 (local rate for BT calls, mobile call costs may vary) or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org , or confidentially by calling Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
Children and Young Person (Scotland) Act
Failure to display the statutory notice on
a cigarette vending machine may lead to, on summary conviction, to a fine
of up to £1,000.
The Prices Act 1974