Shops are warned over cigarette sale

CALDERDALE businesses have been reminded it will be illegal to sell tobacco products from vending machines from October 1.

The change is the first of several being made to the way tobacco products are to be sold in England, including limited circumstances where tobacco products can be legally displayed with effect from 6 April 2012.

The Government wants to drive down the prevalence of smoking, particularly the sale of tobacco products to underage smokers, over the next five years.

As part of the drive, West Yorkshire Trading Standards carried out a week of test purchasing from cigarette vending machines in pubs and hotels.

Out of the 38 premises visited, 63 per cent were non-compliant with underage sales laws and on only three occasions was the test purchaser challenged and a sale prevented.

Current legislation makes it an offence to sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 18, including from a vending machine.

Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “There is a big change in the law in this area and will effectively ban the sale of cigarettes from vending machines. Premises with a cigarette machine will need to take steps in the next three weeks to ensure they comply with the new law. We will be undertaking some test purchase visits, in the forthcoming months to check compliance.”

Calderdale councillor Conrad Winterburn (Lib-Dem, Greetland and Stainland) , deputy chairman of the Trading Standards Committee, said: “This law will remove one of children’s favourite supply lines for cigarettes, and, in turn will help to improve the health of young people.”