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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Seven shops broke law on cigarette and vape sales to under 18’s

Seven shops in Antrim and Newtownabbey sold cigarettes and vapes to an underage customer during a recent test visit, a report to councillors says.

Of 20 retail outlets tested, four sold cigarettes and three sold vaping devices to a young person aged under 18 years during the exercise in August and September.

Each has since received a written warning and has been revisited and given advice ahead of re-testing next year.

Councils in Northern Ireland have a statutory duty to enforce legislation surrounding the sale of age-restricted products such as cigarettes and other tobacco products. It is an offence to supply any cigarettes or tobacco products to any person under the age of 18.

Since February 2022, it has been an offence to sell nicotine inhaling products, including e-cigarettes and e-liquids commonly known as ‘vapes’ to anyone under the age of 18.

The Public Health Agency funds tobacco control officers who work on behalf of local authorities in Northern Ireland to promote compliance with tobacco control legislation and to provide advice.

During the year, each tobacco control officer is required  to visit a minimum of 50 tobacco retailers to check compliance with age restricted salelegislation and carry out advisory visits prior to test purchasing at approximately 300 businesses.

The Public Health Agency says:

“Cigarettes are the only legal product which, when used as intended, will kill half of its users.

“Smoking has been identified as the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in Northern Ireland with one in every six deaths in Northern Ireland being attributable to smoking.”


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