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Over-18s only for cigarette sales

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK: The legal age for selling cigarettes increases to 18 years of age and over from October 1. The age rise finally comes into force from today after years of consultation, debate and political wrangling.

Retailers, off-licences and the on-trade are being urged to be extra vigilant and to ask anyone who appears under-21 for proof of age.

Trading Standards officers are expected to be out in force across the country to ensure the new age regulations are followed.

Anyone found guilty of selling cigarettes to anyone below 18-years-of-age runs the risk of being refused to sell cigarettes in the future and faces maximum fine of 2,500.

The age rise has been strongly criticised by retail and drinks trade organisations. The Association of Convenience Stores, whilst urging its members to be vigigant against under-age sales, said the new age restrictions place even greater pressure on retailers and fear it could result in an increase in incidents of violent crime and abuse against those retailers simpy doing their job.