Fine adults who buy cigarettes for children, says Labour

Published on Monday, 02 December 2013 10:10
Written by Daniel Mason

Labour has called for a government crackdown on adults who buy cigarettes for children.

  • Over 18s who purchase cigarettes for minors will face a fine of up to £5,000 - the same penalty for supplying children with alcohol - under Labour plans.
  • Half of all underage smokers (47 per cent) have cigarettes purchased for them by adults.

Following the government's partial u-turn on tobacco packaging, Labour will call on ministers to back proposals to outlaw the proxy purchasing of cigarettes and other tobacco products for children in a Lords debate today.

Shopkeepers cannot sell cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18, but it is not an offence for someone to buy tobacco products on behalf of a minor. At present, adults can face a fine for buying alcohol for young drinkers yet the same rules do not apply to cigarettes despite the harm caused.

A law to ban proxy purchasing of tobacco products for under 18s has already received public support from retailers and the tobacco manufacturers.

Luciana Berger MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Public Health, said:

"Buying alcohol on behalf of underage children is already illegal, so it doesn't make sense not to have the same penalty for tobacco products when they kill half of all lifetime smokers. Most young smokers have their cigarettes bought for them by another person, so it's vital that we address this.

"David Cameron should get behind Labour's plans and prove he is serious about protecting future generations from the dangers of smoking."

Source: Labour Party

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