Penalty amended but dark tobacco still on track for 1 July
The legislation governing the sale of tobacco is to be amended to allow a judge in discretion in the case of retailers found to have sold tobacco to a minor
19 April 2009
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Mary Wallace TD has responded to “concerns raised by stakeholders” by amending the existing tobacco legislation.
“The legislation as it stands provides for a ban on a retailer selling tobacco for a period of three months,” if found to have sold tobacco to a minor, said a spokesperson from the Department’s Tobacco Control Unit. The offender is removed from the register of retailers who can sell tobacco, which is maintained by the Office of Tobacco Control.
“It is now proposed to be amended under new legislation to a period of not exceeding three months,” the spokesperson said. “The three month penalty is still there but what’s different about it now is that the judge will be allowed some discretion. The judge will decide, in addition to any other penalty, the amount of time [the retailer is] to be removed from the register.”
Minister Wallace has indicated that this legislation will be enacted before the summer recess, in advance of the measures to be introduced on 1 July 2009.
Vincent Jennings (CSNA) says that he welcomes the move but was disappointed that the Department will not consider a phased rollout for smaller retailers to help them adjust their businesses for the display ban coming into effect from 1 July. “It’s three months away, people are going to have to start, from today, thinking about how they’re going to organise a secure, closed container for providing product in their shop,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean that they have to have a closed container on that very date but they have to have some type of screen or barrier preventing the product being seen,” he added, indicating that temporary solutions will be acceptable, provided tobacco products are completely hidden.