Not our job to do government's dirty work

05 October, 2007

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person to be deeply worried about the government raising the smoking age to 18, apparently without telling anyone about it.

Where are the TV and radio ads? Why isn't anyone telling youngsters they have to stub out their cigarettes as of now?

Ever since I learnt the smoking age was going up I have been telling teenage smokers, give up now before you're forced to do so. Not one of the youths I spoke to had a clue what I was on about.

Now it's up to me to tell them they can't have the nicotine their bodies have got addicted to any more. OK, it hasn't been too bad for me in the first days of the new rules, but I dread to think what will happen further down the line.

I already have to deal with foul language and violent threats on a regular basis when I refuse to sell alcohol to under-age drinkers. What on earth is going to happen when that aggression gets mixed up with nicotine withdrawal?

The government should have done more to spread the word to teenage smokers. Now it's too late for that, it needs to do more to protect retailers facing angry thugs instead of criminalising us over under-age sales. But I'm not holding my breath.

Gary Bryan

By e-mail

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