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Businesses refuse to sell tobacco to minors

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Monday 31 July 2017

Local businesses have shown they are complying with the law by refusing to sell tobacco products to people under 18 years of age.

All five businesses recently tested in Mount Alexander Shire refused to sell tobacco to a minor.

“It is very promising to see retailers taking their responsibility seriously and following the law,” said Jason Taylor, Director Sustainable Development, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

Council undertakes tobacco test purchasing on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. The program uses a person under 18 years of age to visit tobacco retailers to determine whether business owners and employees are adhering to strict legislation in regards to cigarette sales.

Companies that break the law face fines of more than $7,000.

Mr Taylor said access to cigarettes is a very important factor in the uptake of smoking by young people.

“Restricting the supply of tobacco products to young people is a proven strategy for helping reduce the prevalence of youth smoking,” he said.

Research shows that the earlier a person starts smoking, the more likely they will become a heavier, more addicted smoker and develop tobacco related illnesses.

Council undertakes regular inspections at local businesses to ensure compliance with other aspects of tobacco legislation including smoke free dining, health warning signs and ensuring tobacco products are not on view to the public.

Smoking will be banned in outdoor dining areas from Tuesday 1 August. The change in legislation is designed to protect the community from the harms of second hand tobacco smoke and increase the comfort and enjoyment of non-smokers dining in outdoor areas.

Under the new legislation, Council officers can issue on-the-spot infringement penalties from $150 to $800 for smokers and businesses who do not comply.

For more information about Tobacco Act requirements, visit www.health.vic.gov.au/tobaccoreforms.

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