Independent retailers in Northern Ireland receiving training support on age restricted products

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Responsible Tobacco Retailing programme’s compliance scheme is now being rolled out to help Northern Ireland’s retailers in the battle against under age sales.

Originally launched in the North West of England in 2014, the programme – supported by Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris Limited, and Imperial Tobacco Limited, who collectively cover the majority of the UK tobacco market – has now launched in Northern Ireland and will see 90 retailers mystery shopped to see if they are ‘at risk’ of potentially selling tobacco products to people under the age of 18.

It isn’t always easy for shopkeepers to judge the ages of people coming into stores based solely on their appearance, and with legislation for products such as alcohol and tobacco changing year on year, it’s important that independent retailers get the support they need. This comes in the form of training, delivered by Under Age Sales, which aims to inform retailers of how keep young people safe and ensure they don’t come into contact with tobacco.

This isn’t a scheme to catch retailers out; we recognise that independent retailers often don’t have the resources to afford training themselves, so we offer free training support if retailers are found to be ‘at risk’, meaning a retailer has sold tobacco to a test purchaser without asking for or checking valid ID on two occasions. The accredited training is designed to cover all age-restricted products, not just tobacco, and can count towards a Level 2 NVQ in preventing under age sales.

The Northern Ireland programme follows successful schemes in the North West of England in 2014, the East of England, Yorkshire and Humberside, North East, East Midlands, West Midlands and Wales in 2015, and Scotland earlier in 2016. It will be rolled out in the remaining areas of the UK over the coming years, ending in London.