Trading standards test traders
Argyll and Bute Council’s trading standards team is currently running a project to help tackle underage smoking.
In a scheme supported by the Scottish Executive, teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 are working with the council by attempting to purchase tobacco from shops across Argyll and Bute.
The number of sales, refusals and ID requests are logged so that shops illegally selling to underage consumers can be identified.
This is not the first time that shops in Argyll and Bute have been tested. A similar project was run last year, and the high failure rate prompted the council to set up a series of free seminars, which all businesses who sell age restricted products were invited to attend.
The seminars advised traders on how to comply with legislation, and included best practice to be adopted. Strathclyde Police, the NHS, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Young Scot were amongst the organisations to provide speakers who helped convey the implications of young people having access to tobacco products.
Shops which fail in the tests currently being run by trading standards are breaking the law, and can face a maximum fine of £5000.
These tests are made possible by young volunteers from the area assisting. As a thank you for their efforts to keep Argyll and Bute healthy, they are rewarded with something to help maintain their healthy lifestyle. One volunteer recently received a contribution towards his gym membership.
Councillor Daniel Kelly, chair of the planning, protective services and licensing committee, said: “I am pleased with the progress that the trading standards team has made with testing licensed premises across Argyll and Bute.
“When shops fail to treat young customers appropriately, they are breaking the law. Whilst I recognise that this is not always a straightforward issue, retailers in Argyll and Bute should be in no doubt that if they persistently flout the legislation, appropriate enforcement action will be taken.
“The council has worked hard to educate shop keepers and staff on how best to comply with the laws on age restricted products. I would like to thank young volunteers for their help and I am proud that the council is proactively contributing to maintaining young people’s healthy lifestyles in this way.”
Anyone with any concerns or queries regarding trading standards should contact the council’s trading standards team on 01546 604404.