JTI has completed an initiative to support its retail partners in complying with the law on underage sales. After more than 6,000 test purchases in eight months, the programme has achieved a 7% increase in the number of retailers requesting ID.

The £400,000 programme, run by Serve Legal, an independent test purchase service for retailers of age restricted products, is aimed at encouraging retailers to challenge for ID and ensure that they are not at risk of selling tobacco to people under the age of 18. The results show that the number of retailers considered ‘at risk’ fell from 52% to 45%.

Tom Hirons, corporate affairs manager at JTI, said: “JTI’s position is clear, children should not smoke, and JTI is committed to playing a role in ensuring that children do not have access to tobacco products.

“As a result of the programme we have been able to help many retailers safeguard their businesses, and also gain further ground in stopping young people from accessing tobacco products. It proves that training is an effective way to raise standards in this crucial area.

“By undertaking this initiative JTI has taken a lead to combat under age sales, however, at a time when public resources are being cut, it also illustrates that much more needs to be done.”

In a recent survey of 500 independent retailers, conducted by JTI, nearly a third of respondents (32%) admitted that they did not have any formal training for their staff to prevent under age sales.