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Concern as 46% of independent tobacco retailers fail to correctly check ID


Nearly half (46%) of the independent tobacco retailers tested as part of Responsible Tobacco Retailing’s mystery shopper programme failed to correctly challenge for ID, according to the latest 2016 report.

More than 4,000 checks were carried out on stores last year, including 3,626 mystery shops and 546 compliance checks. Other key findings from the 2016 programme include:

  • 84% of stores had no age verification policy written down
  • 47% of stores had no warning signage outside
  • 79% of retailers had no documented training in place
  • Retailers in the East of England and East Midlands were more likely to challenge for ID from younger consumers – 64% and 62% respectively – compared to the national average of 54%

Cllr Suleman Khonat, chair of the Tobacco Retailers Alliance and NW president of the Federation of Retail Newsagents said the issue did not appear to be isolated to one area of the UK, but was “a national problem, and one that needs rectifying”.

He said: “From nationally accredited training to the correct display of posters and signage, there are steps that retailers can take to ensure they will not, and do not, break the law. By working with Responsible Tobacco Retailing, retailers have access to all they require in order to comply.”

Tony Allen, of Under Age Sales, which provides free training to retailers identified as ‘at risk’ and also manages the programme, said: “While the findings show there are many responsible retailers out there who are compliant, it has revealed that many do need support to ensure they understand and follow the law.

“We want to work together to not only guarantee young people are unable to purchase cigarettes and tobacco, but to also safeguard retailers against the potential execution of such transactions.”

Credit: Talking Retail