Youth Access Prevention

Smoking is a matter of informed adult choice. Children should not smoke and should be discouraged from doing so.


It is now illegal in the UK to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. The key issue is for retailers to establish age at point-of-sale before they allow a purchase to be made, accompanied by an effective enforcement regime.Retailers may have difficulty in assessing age without the use of ID cards. In this regard, the TMA is a principal stakeholder in CitizenCard, the UK’s leading proof-of-age scheme with 2 million cards issued. The TMA initiated the ‘No ID No Sale’ campaign (NINS) campaign operated by CitizenCard, which promotes all Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) accredited Proof of Age / ID schemes.


The NINS campaign has engaged more than 100,000 retailers nationwide and created a culture in which young people expect to be asked to prove their age, and in which retailers accept only the correct ID.


JTI and ITL support the Responsible Tobacco Retailing (RTR) programme which is designed to identify retailers who may be at risk of selling age restricted products to children and then to offer those retailers free-of-charge professional training to help them improve.


The Government introduced a form of ‘negative licensing*’ via the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act (CJIA) and the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act (RESA), which came into force on 1 April 2009. The TMA supports this legislation.


The devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland have introduced retailer registration schemes and Wales is set to implement a similar scheme.


TMA welcomed the inclusion of a provision, which prohibited the proxy purchase of tobacco products in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 27 January 2010. We strongly recommended that the rest of the UK introduced a similar ban, therefore, it was welcome news that the 2014 Children & Families Act includes provisions to ban the proxy purchasing of tobacco.


  • To learn more about the TMA’s support for CitizenCard click here.
  • To learn more NINS click here.
  • To learn more about the Responsible Tobacco Retailing programme click here


* Negative Licensing – retailers would continue to be able to sell tobacco without being licensed, but if they are shown to flout the law on under-age sales, Trading Standards could apply sanctions, including a revocation of the right to sell tobacco.)

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