A CRACKDOWN on the sale of cigarettes and vaping products to young people in East Renfrewshire is producing “fantastic” results, council chiefs have said.

The local authority’s trading standards team regularly carry out test purchasing at shops across the Barrhead area to ensure cigarettes and nicotine vaping products aren’t being sold to underage customers.

Test purchasing relies on young volunteers visiting shops and attempting to buy age-restricted products. The retailer should then ask for some form of identification, and when the customer is unable to supply it, should refuse to complete the sale.

Any retailer who fails to request ID and makes a sale faces enforcement action.

As part of a targeted approach to checking the ‘Challenge 25’ age verification policies operated by local retailers, trading standards staff carried out test purchases across East Renfrewshire last year.

Volunteers aged 20 or 21 visited 72 retailers, with 46 per cent of shop staff failing to ask for ID and allowing them to make a purchase.

Trading standards officers then worked with these retailers to educate them on the importance of having a robust under-25 age verification policy in place.

Training was also provided to ensure they follow the rules, preventing formal enforcement action and prosecution.

A follow-up test purchase was then carried out at each of these stores, this time with volunteers aged under 18, with a 100 per cent pass rate achieved.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, East Renfrewshire’s environment convener, said: “Tobacco and nicotine vaping products have been found to be the most common form of harm to young people, so I am pleased our trading standards team has been working hard to ensure all retailers understand the importance of age verification policies.

“Improving the pass rate to one hundred per cent with this rigorous testing programme is a fantastic result. However, I would encourage anyone who believes a retailer is selling age-restricted products to young people to report it to trading standards by calling 0808 800 9060.”

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