Monash Council is reminding retailers of their legal obligation to ask for identification from anyone asking to purchase cigarettes to ensure they are over 18.
Council recently interviewed and issued formal warnings to five tobacco retailers within the municipality who sold a packet of cigarettes to a young person under 18 without asking for photo identification. These sales occurred during the 32 tobacco retailer visits conducted by Council officers throughout January.
Council regularly conducts tests to ensure retailers are complying with the Tobacco Act 1987, which prohibits the sale of cigarettes to a person under the age of 18 years.
Under a statewide program coordinated by the Department of Health and Human Services, teenagers are employed by Councils to attempt to purchase cigarettes from tobacco retailers.
If a warning has been issued and a retailer continues to breach the Act by selling cigarettes to minors, the potential penalities are an on-the-spot fine (currently $644.75 for an individual/$9671.40 for a company) or face the Magistrates’ Court.
Mayor Shane McCluskey said young people pay the price when retailers break the law by selling them cigarettes when they are underage.
“There are so many smokers out there who became addicted to smoking when they were young and wish they had never started,” Cr McCluskey said.
“More than 80% of smokers become addicted to nicotine when they are teenagers.
“We don’t want our young people to go on and join the ranks of the 18,800 Australians who die each year from smoking related diseases.
"We've got to do what we can to uphold the law and stop the supply of cigarettes to young people," he said.
Cr McCluskey encouraged local residents to report any concerns they have that a local retailer may have sold cigarettes to a minor by calling Council's Public Health Unit on 9518 3540.
Media Contact: Emily Webb 0466 026 560 or email Emily.Webb@monash.vic.gov.au