Fife Council wins national award for taking steps to reduce harm caused by tobacco

Fife Council's Bruce Lepley receives the award.
Fife Council's Bruce Lepley receives the award.

The Fife Council Trading Standards Team is one of nine organisations across Scotland which was recognised in an award ceremony last month for their work in support of Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation.

They joined a range of organisations who were commended on the outstanding contributions they have been making to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in their communities.

Trading Standards staff in Fife have been involved in the fight to prevent the sale of age restricted tobacco products to underage young people for many years.

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Officers have worked closely with traders to help them understand the importance of acting responsibly and within the law.

Checks that retailers are complying are made by organising test purchasing exercises where under age volunteers attempt to buy age-restricted products. Fixed penalty notices are issued to traders who are caught selling such products to the volunteers without challenging their age or asking for ID.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland, said: “Scotland has a vision of putting smoking out of fashion for the next generation, with fewer than five per cent of the population still smoking by 2034. The Charter is proving an effective way to align organisations in the fight against tobacco and particularly the harmful effects it has on children and young people.

“I’m delighted to present Fife Council with a Charter Award to recognise their significant positive contributions in support of the Charter principles. Each step an organisation takes, furthers Scotland’s progress towards a generation free from tobacco.”

Dawn Adamson, Trading Standards service manager, said: “This award reflects the hard work our team has put into vastly reducing the problem relating to the illicit sale of tobacco and indeed other age restricted products to underage kids in Fife over a number of years.

“We will continue to tackle the issue by educating traders and consumers, and where necessary enforcing the relevant legislation.”

Councillor Ross Vettraino, chairman of the council’s Environment, Protective Services and Community Safety Committee, said: “This is just one example of the many unseen ways in which the council’s Trading Standards resource both protects the community and makes a huge contribution towards improving the welfare of the community.

“At one time, Trading Standards Officers were thought of only in terms of weights and measures, but that was long ago. Over the last year, in addition to monitoring the sale of age restricted products, the service has protected the community, and in particular the vulnerable community, from becoming victims of scam and doorstep crime.

“It has put in place intervention measures such as call blockers to stop scam telephone calls and it constantly works with Police Scotland and the banking sector to safeguard consumers.

“It continually protects the community from counterfeit goods and cheap and unsafe electrical products that don’t comply with consumer protection laws. It is currently engaged investigating complaints in relation to used car sales, car servicing and repairs; working with statutory agencies and enforcement bodies on intelligence-led approaches to enforcement and working with national agencies in the preparation for a No-Deal Brexit. It is a service of which the community can be proud.”

If anyone is concerned about a business selling any age restricted product, to someone underage please inform Trading Standards.

Visit www.fifedirect.org.uk/underagesales and use the Do It Online e-form ‘Report a sale to an underage person’.