Crackdown on retailers selling cigarettes to minors

Published on 20 June 2016

Nine tobacco retailers in the Mildura Rural City Council area have been caught selling cigarettes to children by the council’s Environmental Health Team.

Releasing the results of test purchases undertaken across the Mildura and Ouyen area in June, Cr Sharyon Peart said 9 retailers or 56% had broken the law by selling to minors.

“Council’s Environmental Health Team have commenced an ongoing test purchase program throughout the municipality to ensure tobacco retailers comply with the laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to people under 18 years of age,” Cr Peart said.

“Retailers must understand that selling cigarettes to children under the age of 18 is unacceptable. As eight out of ten new smokers start as children and are 15 times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, we have to do more to prevent teenage smoking.

“All the retailer has to do is ask a person for proof of age before selling to someone who may be underage.”

Retailers found to be breaking the law risk receiving a $606 infringement notice or be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court and risk a fine of up to $18,200 for an individual or $91,000 for a body corporate, and the loss of their right to sell tobacco.

There have been 16 test purchases carried out within the municipality, with 9 resulting in sales to minors this month.

Warning letters have been issued, and if retailers are again found to break the law by selling to minors in further test purchases, they will be issued with an infringement notice.

“With 5000 Victorians dying of tobacco-related disease every year, we need to try and reduce the number of teenagers taking up the deadly habit,’ Cr Peart said.

People concerned about retailers selling to children should ring the council’s Environmental Health Team on 5018 8100 or the Department of Health Tobacco Information Line on 1300 136 775. Information on tobacco laws is available at www.health.vic.gov.au/tobaccoreforms

ENDS


Media enquiries
Angela Umback
p) (03) 5018 8689
e) angela.umback@mildura.vic.gov.au