Government Failed to Inform Public Over Change to Tobacco Purchasing Age

September 27, 2007 12:00 AM

Today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have strongly criticised the Government for failing to advertise sufficiently and inform the public that on 1st October, the legal age for purchasing cigarettes changes from 16 to 18 years old.

Commenting, Jenny Willott MP said:

"While efforts to inform people about the public smoking ban were superb, the Government has done far too little to inform people about the imminent change to the legal age for buying tobacco.

"Anyone who wasn't aware of the smoking ban before it came into effect must have been asleep for months. It was advertised on billboards, buses, in shops, supermarkets on the radio and on TV.

"The Government stated at the start of the year that a campaign to raise awareness would be launched to inform the public of this change to the law for buying cigarettes. But appears that only the very bare minimum has actually been done and most people are completely unaware that this change is about to take place.

"Shop workers already report that the greatest source of abuse, intimidation and violence they receive is as a result of asking for proof of age. Without a major effort to inform the public over the new tobacco purchasing age, the situation is likely to be considerably worse.

"The Government must carry out a major advertising push over the next few months to ensure that disruptions over the age change for buying tobacco are kept to a minimum."

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