Campaign will tell public about change in tobacco law

The Department of Health has today announced it will launch a publicity campaign on July 23 to inform retailers and the public about plans to raise the legal age for buying tobacco from 16 to 18.

New government legislation means that from Oct 1 it will be illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy cigarettes and tobacco with retailers facing fines of up to £2,500 for selling it to them.

Since the new law was announced on Jan 1 retail support groups have pressed the government to communicate the change to the public so as to prevent conflict between retailers and 16 and 17-year-olds when they are refused a sale.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: "Retailers will be the front-line defence against under-18s buying tobacco and this campaign will help them to do this job. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Department of Health to ensure customers are aware of the change and that no one is caught by surprise on Oct 1."

Details of the campaign will be made available on on July 23.