Second Responsible Tobacco Retailing report released at Local Government Association 2017

Monday, 24 July 2017

The first week of July saw the Under Age Sales team travel to Birmingham to exhibit at the Local Government Association 2017 conference, as part of the Responsible Tobacco Retailing programme.

At this year’s conference, we launched our second annual report, detailing results from the proof-of-age compliance scheme. The report showed that:

  • Only 54 per cent of retailers correctly challenged for ID before completing sales
  • Increase in compliance of 9 per cent in first half of the year (January to June)
  • 47 per cent of stores don’t have warning signage outside their store
  • 84 per cent have no age verification policy written down

The Responsible Tobacco Retailing programme has been established by the UK tobacco industry to support independent community retailers to prevent youth access to tobacco. The scheme has been rolled out across the UK during 2015 and 2016, managed by independent specialists at Under Age Sales. Working with three of the major tobacco manufacturers – Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris Limited and Imperial Tobacco Limited, the Responsible Tobacco Retailing programme conducts mystery shops across the UK, to determine the likelihood of teenagers being able to buy tobacco related products.

The results of the report were a clear indicator that more needs to be done to educate and support retailers on how to handle a potential underage sale of tobacco. The simplest actions, such as displaying the correct signage, both inside and outside of a shop, can go a long way in deterring young people from attempting a transaction, and reminding retailers to be vigilant.

Whilst at the conference, Lord Porter of Spalding, chair of the Local Government Association, came to speak to us about the report and the next steps we will be taking. The programme will roll out for another three years, continuing to carry out mystery shop and compliance checks across the UK, with the South East and London already executed in 2017. Moving forwards, the scheme will also focus on the continuous improvement needed to provide enhanced support to areas with greater numbers of ‘at risk’ premises.

If you think you and your team would benefit from training from Under Age Sales, visit: https://www.underagesales.co.uk/learning.html