Age restrictions for tobacco products (cigarettes, cigarette papers, cigars, pipe tobacco, products containing tobacco) were brought in by the Government to protect people who are underage, because underage smoking can have a negative effect on the health and development of the individual.
It is a criminal offence to sell tobacco products to someone who is under the age of 18 years, even if they are for someone else – the punishment can be a fine of up to £2,500. Premises selling cigarettes must display a clear notice stating that ‘It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the ago of 18’ and even a failure to display this sign could result in a fine of up to £1000.
Cigarettes must be sold in packets of 10 or more and in their original packaging. It is an offence to break open packets and sell loose cigarettes to both adults and children.
Trading standards and prevention of underage sales
The Trading Standards service at the Local Authority aims to protect the community from illegal or unfair trading practices, and carries out test purchases to check retailers are complying with the law and not selling age-restricted products to underage persons. If you are between 16 and 18 years old, you might be interested in getting involved and becoming a local underage sales volunteer, in which case, click here for further details.
If you have concerns about a business trading illegally or if you want to make sure your business is operating within the law, then contact Public Protection at Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9000.
It is an offence to break open packets and sell loose cigarettes
Each year around 207,000 children in the UK start smoking
Among adult smokers, about two-thirds report that they took up smoking before the age of 18
It is a criminal offence to sell tobacco products to someone who is underage
Smoking from an early age is linked to heavier smoking in later life, higher levels of dependency and a lower chance of quitting.
The latest survey of adult smokers shows that almost two-fifths (40%) had started smoking regularly before the age of 16