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Retailers nabbed selling cigarettes to children

Nine retailers have been caught out selling cigarettes to underage people.

Nine retailers have been caught out selling cigarettes to underage people. Photo: Gabriele Charotte

Nine local businesses have been caught selling tobacco products to juveniles, as part of a new government program policing the sale of cigarettes.

Two juveniles were sent into 24 Canberra stores to purchase cigarettes between November and January, and nine stores sold the underage buyers tobacco products.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said in a statement on Wednesday that 24 retailers were subject to the new compliance testing program, in which a "trained purchase assistant" under the age of 18 attempted to buy cigarettes under the supervision of an authorised officer.

Nine retailers were found to be non-compliant, in that they sold tobacco products to an underage person.

Mr Corbell said the Office of Regulatory Services was yet to prosecute the retailers in question.

He has also allayed concerns the government was encouraging underage people to buy cigarettes through their involvement in the program.

He said strict conditions were in place for the purchasing assistants, who were offered $100 gift vouchers once the testing is completed.

"Purchasing assistants undergo a comprehensive training program and are carefully supervised at all times during their inspections," Mr Corbell.

"In addition, all purchasing assistants must be non-smokers and display a commitment to seeing the reduction of the harmful effects of smoking on the population and of young people in particular."

More of the compliance testing will be carried out by the Office of Regulatory Services.

1 comment

  • This type of compliance testing (sometimes using young people who are older than 18 but who look younger) has been done overseas and in other parts of Australia since the 1990s, so it is well past time that the ACT started doing it (the actual legislation was enacted ages ago). This is an important aspect of the retail licensing system -- otherwise, the retailers who break the law figure they'll never get caught, and licenses are never suspended or revoked. It may be considered a controversial approach, but it has been used for quite a while and serves to put retailers on notice, without any reported adverse effects on the participants. Now, will we see some licence suspensions or other penalties?

    Commenter
    Karina
    Location
    Belconnen
    Date and time
    February 20, 2013, 11:46PM
    Comments are now closed
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