Regions In this feature

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Regions In this feature l underage smoking l tobacco legislation l successful enforcement KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON Tobacco control in Scotland has been severely tested over the past six years, but trading standards services up and down the country have been carrying on regardless, as Neil Chalmers highlights I n 2008, the Scottish government had an ambition: to reduce the sale of tobacco products to the underage. Intotal, 4.5million in funding was originally provided to 32 local authorities split over the course of three years to encourage increased advice and support to businesses from trading standards, to boost test purchasing activity and create a greater focus on preventing sales of illicit tobacco. The initiative was called the Enhanced Tobacco Sales Enforcement Programme (ETSEP), and was supposed to ensure local trading standards services (TSS) agreement to conduct advice and support visits to 20 per cent of the 19,678 premises selling tobacco, and increase the number of test purchasing visits to 10 per cent of those premises. Unfortunately, not all local authorities passed this funding to trading standards and, over subsequent years, some authorities have actually seen resources to prevent underage tobacco sales eliminated altogether to savemoney. Despite these setbacks, trading standards authorities have done their best to meet the Scottish governments targets over the last six years, with funding for the programme being extended and reviewed on an annual basis. In the programmes first year, 2008-9, not all authorities had volunteers to cope with test purchasing, so only 6.6 per cent of premises were visited, while the target of 20 per cent of advice and support visits was met. More recently, these targets have been exceeded, with test purchase visits in 2013-14 reaching 13.7 per cent, and advice and support visits peaking at 34.7 per cent. First failures on test purchase visits dropped from 20 per cent in 201112 to 15 per cent in 2013-14 due to the good enforcement work of trading standards, helped in part by a reduction in the number of premises selling tobacco from 19,678 in 2008 to 9,488 in 2014. Other factors that should be taken into consideration include peoples desire to quit smoking and the requirement for premises to be registered to sell tobacco. In 2008, the Scottish government provided welcome funding to help authorities prepare for the introduction of new tobacco legislation, and to support the post of national trading standards coordinator, which was first introduced in 2004. The funding has been used to pay for training of all staff involved in tobacco registration, fixed penalty notices and the display and vending machine bans. More recently, the funding has been used to support various new initiatives that have helped trading standards tackle problems with illicit tobacco. Each TSS has been provided with a tobacco reader to enable them to determine immediately whether or not a product is genuine. In addition, all authorities now have access to a tobacco detection dog that can sniff out hidden stores of tobacco as well as DVDs at no cost to their authority. Thedog has already been used successfully by several authorities, with 40,000 worth of tobacco and DVDs being discovered in one authority area alone. The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland has produced its second ETSEP report. Copies are available online. If you would prefer a printed copy of the report, you can request one byemail. FURTHeR RedUCTIONS In 2010-11, there were 267 failed first test purchases, with 52 failures on followup test purchases, while in 2013-14 the results fell to 197 failures on the first test purchase, and only 20 failures on follow-up visits. Reports to the Procurator Fiscal, and warning letters for the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 years old, have also decreased from 78 and 258 respectively in 2010-11 to three and 61 in 2013-14. This reduction has been due mainly to the introduction, in 2011, of fixed penalty notices, which have helped to deal more appropriately with many new and existing offences. Credits Published You might also like Neil Chalmers the national trading 25 November, 2014 Beating the bootleggers November 2014 standards coordinator in Scotland. To share this page, click on in the toolbar TS TODAY