THERE are now only 50 days until the introduction of new rules for Scotland’s tobacco retailers as legislation designed to make cigarettes less available to under 18s kicks in.
The move means that around 80 retailers in the Western Isles are now required to sign up to the register in order to continue selling cigarettes.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “Too many people have died, or watched loved ones suffer, as a result of tobacco-related illnesses.
“There is no doubt that cigarettes cause harm and that’s why I believe it’s right that those who sell cigarettes should be registered, allowing trading standards officers to better enforce age restrictions and helping to crackdown on illicit sales.”
Opening on April 1, Scottish retailers have until October 1 to sign up as under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, retailers must register in order to sell cigarettes.
Registration packs will be posted to retailers from March 7 with instructions on how to register and also a selection of signs for staff and customers that they can display within their stores.
“We were also conscious of the need not to burden responsible retailers with needless bureaucracy,” continued Minister Robison. “That’s why the registration process is simple to complete online and will be free of charge. “I urge retailers now to make a date in their diary and ensure that they join the register from April 1 onwards.”
Retailers are able to sign up to the register either online at www.tobaccoregisterscotland.org or by requesting a form from Trading Standards within each council area.
After the sign-up deadline of October 1, it will be illegal for retailers to sell tobacco products if they are not registered. Those found to be selling tobacco without having registered could be fined up to £20,000 and sent to prison for six months.
The new legislation is part of a raft of measures being introduced on April 1 to crack down on underage tobacco sales and underage smoking.
From this date it will also be an offence for anyone under 18 to buy or attempt to buy tobacco products or cigarette papers.
Anyone under 18 who is in possession of tobacco products or cigarette papers in a public place and fail to comply with a request from the police to surrender these items or to supply a name and address will also be breaking the law, as will anyone 18 years or over buying tobacco products on behalf of anyone under 18.