Aberdeen Trading Standards to launch campaign against under-age tobacco sales

A week-long campaign to explain how the law on tobacco affects young people will be launched by Trading Standards in Aberdeen on Monday 31 August.

The Trading Standards team, working with the North East Scotland College and local retailers, is aiming to get the message across that it is illegal for someone over the age of 18 to buy cigarettes or tobacco for anyone under 18.

The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 brought together several laws relating to the sale of tobacco and tobacco products such as cigarettes. This included the offence of shops selling tobacco to anyone less than 18 years of age. It also introduced several new rules – the most obvious being the ban on the display of tobacco in all shops.

For those under 18, the legislation introduced a criminal offence for them to buy or to attempt to buy cigarettes. It also gave the police power to confiscate tobacco and cigarettes from anyone under 18 in a public place.

For those over 18, the law also made it a criminal offence to purchase cigarettes and tobacco for anyone under 18.

In the past local retailers have raised concerns about young people who were either trying to buy cigarettes or who were getting older friends to buy them on their behalf.

Aberdeen City Council's Trading Standards manager Graeme Paton said: "We are trying to get the message across that not only is it illegal for anyone under 18 to try and buy cigarettes and tobacco but it is also illegal for anyone to buy cigarettes for them. Our officers have the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices of up to £200 to anyone who does."

He added: "We are working with North East Scotland College, Police Scotland and local retailers to get the message out there. A lot of people will not know that those under 18, who are seen with cigarettes in the street can have them confiscated by the police. If they fail to hand them over it would be a criminal offence. We also want to remind anyone over 18 that it is not okay to buy tobacco for a younger friend or relative.

"We don't want them to get a criminal record and our posters backed up with messages on information screens around the college will hopefully make the students aware of these laws and consider their actions."

Retailers have been asked to report any instances where young people under 18 are attempting to buy cigarettes or if they suspect that cigarettes and tobacco are being bought for them. They all have CCTV and can provide images of those who do.

Anyone under 18 buying cigarettes or someone buying for them can report it to Trading Standards team on 01224 523737 or can call anonymously on 01224 522433.

The campaign will run until Friday 04 September 2015.