JTI (Japan Tobacco International) has released the latest results from its youth access prevention scheme, IDentify.
According to JTI, the new data demonstrates that mystery shopping and professional on-site training reduces the number of independent retailers at risk of selling tobacco and vaping products to children.
Last year, 154 retailers in Brighton were subject to up to four rounds of mystery shopping to identify premises that were at risk of selling tobacco and vaping products to minors.
Being at risk is based on the failure of a retailer to follow a Challenge 25 process and ask the mystery shopper for ID to prove they are of legal age before the sale of tobacco and vaping products takes place.
Results from the first round indicated that 58% of retailers were identified as being at risk, but after following specialist advice and in some cases, free-of-charge face-to-face training, only two retailers still remained in the at risk category at the end of the four-stage process.
Ian Howell, fiscal and regulatory affairs manager at JTI, commented: “The IDentify scheme helps tackle the problem of underage sales of tobacco and vaping products by providing training and support for retailers; in particular to smaller, independent retailers who often don’t have the resources to provide the same level of staff training that larger stores do.
“The latest figures on smoking and vaping among young people continue to show very low levels of use – around 2% declaring themselves to be regular smokers or vapers (smoking at least one cigarette, or one e-cigarette, a week). While this is welcome, it is still too high and this is why JTI continues to impress on retailers the need to follow best practice and obey the law.
“While we accept that retailers’ jobs aren’t easy, there can be no excuses when it comes to underage sales of tobacco, vaping and other nicotine products and they should always follow the Challenge 25 process.”