// News

Shops fail under-age sales test

19 March 2013

More shops in Hampshire have been caught selling cigarettes to children.

The figures from Hampshire County Council Trading Standards officers were released to coincide with No Smoking Day yesterday.

In test purchases carried out by under-age volunteers from July 2012, five shops out of 19 in Basingstoke, Chandler's Ford, Havant, Totton and Winchester did not challenge the age of the young person who was attempting to buy cigarettes. Three of the test purchases were carried out in Basingstoke, resulting in one sale.

The maximum fine for selling tobacco to under-18s is £2,500 and for persistent selling shops and staff can be banned from making sales for up to 12 months.

Trading Standards staff have formally warned and advised three shops which failed the test purchases. One of the others is no longer trading following the cancellation of their alcohol licence for other similar alleged offences, and the other shop is still under investigation.

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, said he was "disappointed" that under-age sales in tobacco have increased, but said Trading Standards staff are working with the NHS to tackle the problem, and raise awareness in schools.

He added:

Helping shops to refuse sales to young people is one element of reducing supply, as well as delaying the age at which young people start smoking.

He said Trading Standards staff often rely on intelligence from residents to identify illegal sales.

Dr Ruth Milton, director of public health for NHS Hampshire, said:

In England, around 12 per cent of 15-year-olds smoke regularly, and in some parts of Hampshire, this rate is even higher. The NHS therefore offers young smokers crucial help to quit through the Quit4Life Stop Smoking Service.

The service offers free confidential advice and support for smokers of all ages through drop-in sessions, one-to-one help and dedicated telephone support service with free patches.

Anyone aware of under-age sales in Hampshire should call 0845 404 0506 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: Basingstoke and North Hampshire Gazette, 14 March 2013, page 17