Media Releases 2012

Richmond business faces one month ban on selling cigarettes

20 February 2012

A Richmond newsagency has been banned from selling cigarettes for one month after twice selling cigarettes to a person under the age of 18.

Yarra City Council prosecuted the newsagency company and its two directors in the Melbourne Magistrates Court last week after one of the company’s salespeople was caught selling cigarettes to a minor on two separate occasions last year.

In a decision last Thursday, Judicial Registrar Andrews imposed a one month ban on the newsagency selling cigarettes, effective from Monday 20 February.

The Court fined the company $2000, ordered the company and its directors to pay $3000 in costs and imposed an adjourned six month good behaviour bond on each of the directors.

 No convictions were recorded so, in line with a Department of Health protocol, Council is not naming the business.

 Yarra Mayor Cr Geoff Barbour said a tough line needed to be taken against tobacco retailers who disobeyed the law by not asking young people for ID before selling them cigarettes.

 “We need to do what we can to enforce the law and protect young people from developing potentially deadly life-time addictions,” Cr Barbour said.

 He said Cancer Council of Victoria research found that in 2005 about one in four smokers aged between 12 and 17 had bought their last cigarette themselves.

 Cr Barbour said Council would continue to regularly run a tobacco test purchase program in partnership with the Department of Health.

 Under the program, young people are employed to attempt to purchase cigarettes from tobacco retailers.

During the most recent testing in January, two of the 27 shops tested (one in Collingwood and one in Burnley) sold cigarettes to the 16-year-old test purchaser. The two businesses were each fined $489 on the spot.

This 7% sale rate was much lower than that recorded in September 2011 when six of 14 local retailers (including the Richmond newsagency taken to court) sold to a minor.

Retailers are fined on the spot on the first occasion but will be prosecuted by Council if they reoffend.

Council provides regular advice to local retailers to ensure they are fully aware of their legal obligations under the Tobacco Act 1987.


For media enquiries about this issue, please contact:
Ainslie Gowan
Coordinator - Communications
9205 5177 / 0400 933 700   


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