A shop in Rugby has sold cigarettes to children in an undercover test purchasing operation carried out by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
Trading Standards Officers visited seven cigarette retailers in Atherstone, Rugby, Nuneaton, Warwick and Leamington Spa on Wednesday. A child volunteer was asked to attempt to purchase cigarettes in all seven premises – and was able to buy them in Rugby and Nuneaton.
Warwickshire Trading Standards is the body responsible for enforcing age-restricted product laws. It is illegal to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products to anyone aged under 18
Warwickshire County Councillor Les Caborn, who is responsible for community safety, said: “It is extremely disappointing when any retailer sells cigarettes to a child and our officers will be carrying out further investigations in to the circumstances behind these sales.
“We know that most people who take up smoking do so before they reach the age of 18, which is why it is so important that we try to ensure that retailers take their responsibilities seriously and not sell to children.”
Cllo Angela Warner, Chair of Smokefree Warwickshire
Partnership, added: “We know that most young people do not smoke. By ignoring the law, irresponsible retailers are encouraging children to develop a lifelong harmful addiction and undermining our goal of a smoke-free generation”.
Officers will continue carrying out undercover test purchase exercises across the County.
The premises in this exercise were chosen based upon intelligence gathered about the illegal sale of cigarettes.
Investigations are now continuing and any stores or individuals that are prosecuted will be ‘named and shamed’.
One shop in Warwick - no sale
One shop in Leamington - no sale
One shop in Rugby - one sale
Three shops in Nuneaton - one sale
One shop in Atherstone - no sale