Retailers ordered to get to grips with tobacco legislation

Edinburgh tobacco retailers have been told to brush up on the law after almost half failed the first set of test purchases since the legislation change on Oct 1.

Edinburgh Trading Standards officers sent 15-year-old volunteers into 40 shops

to test their compliance with the new age limit of 18.

Of those visited, 18 retailers sold tobacco to the volunteers. Edinburgh City Council environment leader Robert Aldridge, said: "I would like to commend the businesses who have acknowledged the change in legislation and complied with the new rules. However, I am very concerned by the fact that nearly half of the premises we tested sold cigarettes regardless of the age of the customer."

But John Drummond, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation, partly blamed a "limited" communications campaign by the government .

He said: "Members of the SGF have been advised for some time about the change so I'd like to think

they don't sell to under-18s, but this result probably goes to prove

the communications package from the government was not enough."

Stores that failed the tests were given verbal and written warnings. Aldridge said they would be monitored and warned "the strongest possible action" would be taken against those caught out again.