Tobacco retailers disappointed over licensing proposals

Cigarettes on display in a shop
Image caption The new law will mean that eventually only over-18s will be able to sell cigarettes and tobacco

Tobacco industry representatives in Guernsey have said despite their disappointment, they will work with the States on new legislation governing the sale of cigarettes.

The industry had fought plans for annual licensing and having only over-18 shop workers selling tobacco.

However, retailers want to ensure the changes are implemented efficiently and with minimal disruption.

The new legislation will return to the States for final approval next year.

The changes were proposed by the Health and Social Services Department, with the aim of cutting the number of underage smokers in the island.

Health Minister Hunter Adam said the changes were essential for young people's health.

The proposal for the annual licensing of retailers had raised fears some businesses could be forced to close.

Consultation pledge

A previous tobacco licensing regime, introduced in 1904, was repealed in 1980 because it cost more to administer than was being raised through fees.

The new proposals were backed by the States on Friday, although the minimum age for selling tobacco produces will be phased in, so as not to impact on current 16 and 17-year-old shop employees.

James Filleul, of the Channel Islands Tobacco Retailers Association, said the problems of cost and staffing still remained, but they had to move forward.

"We fought the battle, but unfortunately the States didn't agree with us and they agreed with Health and Social Services" he said.

"We were heartened though by the fact that the Health department committed substantially in the debate to consult with the retail trade who will be implementing the laws, so we're looking forward to that consultation."

The new legislation will also give police the power to confiscate tobacco and related paraphernalia from under-18s.

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