In recent times we have seen the introduction of plain packaging, covered kiosks for tobacco products, restrictions on promotions and the ban of 10 packs but the control on the sale of nicotine in all forms will be tightened even further as of tomorrow. On the 1st April 2017, the key provisions of The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 will come into force. The Act broadens current controls on tobacco products and for the first time establishes controls on ‘Nicotine Vapour Products’ or NVPs.
So what is an NVP and what does a retailer have to do?
The definition is extremely wide so retailers should be extra cautious. It includes e-cigarettes, e-cigars and e-liquids plus all of the parts which aid in their use including the device itself, even if those parts don’t actually contain nicotine. No, that is not an April fool.
By bringing NVPs into the tobacco regime their sale is prohibited to under 18’s and a ‘Challenge 25’ age verification policy for selling tobacco and/or NVPs must be implemented. A sale to someone under 18 can only be justified if you believed the person to be older and you took steps to establish their age by requesting identification. Similar to the provisions in place in connection with the sale of alcohol it is advised that retailers provide their staff with a written document setting out the age verification process and regular training. Retailers should keep records of training and maintain a refusal register to demonstrate compliance.
Significantly, the act also brings in to effect new provisions around the sale of NVPs and/or tobacco by those under 18 years of age. They must now only make sales if they are authorised by the ‘Responsible Person’ (e.g. owner, registered tobacco retailer for the shop or shop manager). A written record must be kept of that authorisation which should be signed by the Responsible Person and the person under 18 who has sold the product. It is not enough for the manager to give the cashier a nod when they are processing the sale.
Both these changes have effect from 1st April and it is an offence not to comply.
Finally retailers selling NVPs must register with the Tobacco Retail Register and even those who already hold a registration certificate for the sale of tobacco must update their certificate to include NVPs. Retailers have until the 30th September 2017 to register, after which time they will be breaking the law. The relevant Retailer’s Change Request Form and the Online Registration Form for new applicants can be found at www.tobaccoregisterscotland.org.
If a retailer is discovered to be non-compliant they could face fines for certain offences of up to £20,000, six months imprisonment or both and unrelenting breaches of the new regulations can lead to a banning order disallowing the sale of tobacco and/or NVPs for up to 2 years. If nicotine forms part of your operation do not ignore this smoking gun.
Contact our Licensing Solicitors Glasgow, Scotland
If you have any questions about the new nicotine rules, contact us today.