CTSI has welcomed new Government plans for a gradual increase in the legal age of sale for tobacco, an investment of £30m in tobacco enforcement activity, and a consultation on measures to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes to children.
Under the Government’s proposals, it will be an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products – effectively raising the smoking age by a year each year until it applies to the whole population.
The Government also plans to strengthen enforcement activity, with an investment of £30m to support local Trading Standards services, HMRC and Border Force in their work to prevent underage sales and the import of illicit tobacco and vaping products at the border.
The consultation on plans to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes to children will examine the possibility of restrictions on ‘child-appealing’ flavours and packaging of vapes, regulation of point of sale displays in retail outlets so that vapes are kept out of sight from children, and restrictions on the sale of disposable vapes.
CTSI has long campaigned for urgent action and additional resources to stop underage use of vapes and tobacco products, and has welcomed the announcements.
CTSI Director of External Affairs, Duncan Stephenson, said: “Effective age restriction is at the heart of the Government’s plans to stamp out tobacco and clamp down on vaping, and it falls to Trading Standards to make this happen.
“We will be keen to better understand how this will work in practice, but we are pleased to see that the Government is committing significant funding to support enforcement for Trading Standards, as well as to partners in Border Force and HMRC. This obviously needs to be on a sustainable footing and we will seek clarification on what additional resources will be invested in Trading Standards.
“We are also pleased that the Government will be considering measures to minimise the appeal and sale of vapes to those underage – this has become a menace and huge burden to our Trading Standards teams across the country.”
CTSI Lead Officer for Vaping, Kate Pike, said: “Trading Standards Officers are keen to see measures introduced to help reduce demand for vapes from children as well as support us in enforcing regulations to prevent sale to children and of illegal products.
“The devil is always in the detail with such measures and we look forward to providing our knowledge and expertise to ensure any new legislation is proportionate and enforceable.”