Council to step up vigilance on tobacco sales and counterfeit products

Trading standards officers at The Highland Council are set to step up their vigilance on the sale and marketing of tobacco as the result of new legislative changes being introduced by the Scottish Government from 1 April, this year.

They are also seeking the public’s help in cracking down on counterfeit tobacco products, which they fear contain many more toxins than cigarettes legally sold over the counter.

The new legislation introduced in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 aims to reduce the attractiveness, availability and consumption of tobacco products among older children and adolescents under the age of 18.

The Council already has a duty to enforce tobacco laws and the new legislation introduces extended regulation and an obligation on the Council to carry out a programme of enforcement action in its area at least once every 12 months.

From 1 April, the legislation will make it a requirement for all tobacco retailers to be registered; make it illegal for under 18s to purchase tobacco and adults to buy tobacco for under 18s; and give the Council powers to issue fixed penalty notices to offenders.

A challenge is being made to the plan to make it illegal to sell tobacco from vending machines, but this is proposed to come into effect from 1 October, this year.  A ban on the display of  tobacco and smoking related products in shops is being phased in over the next two years. 

Councillor John Laing, Chairman of the TEC Services Committee, said: “Our Trading Standards officers will be reprioritising their work programme to devote more time to enforcing this important new legislation which aims to reduce underage smoking in our communities and improve the health of our communities.  As well as monitoring what happens in the 1,200 tobacco retail outlets in the Highlands we must be equally vigilant with counterfeit tobacco goods. We would like to hear from anyone who has knowledge of this illegal trade of these goods as they are a potential danger to smokers and provide unfair competition to bone fide retailers.”

21 Jan 2011