A Change Of Age For Tobacco

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Department of Health to inform retailers and the public that the selling of tobacco products to under 18s will be illegal from October 1st.

New Government legislation will raise the age of sale for tobacco from 16 to 18 years of age.

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Changing the legal age of the sale of tobacco follows the introduction of the Smokefree legislation on July 1st 2007 and is aimed at reducing smoking prevalence rates among young people which currently stand at around 9 per cent of 11-15 year olds Department of Health - Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2004 and 26 per cent of 16-19 year olds. General Household Survey 2003-4

Help is at hand for teenagers wanting to quit, with the NHS providing a range of options through the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 0 169 and http://www.gosmokefree.co.uk. Between April and December 2006, 11,258 under 18's set a quit date with their free local NHS Stop Smoking Service, with 37% successful at four weeks. Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England, April 2006 to December 2006, Q3 Quarterly Report

Dawn Primarolo, Minister for Public Health said, "Currently, half of all teenagers who smoke will die from diseases caused by tobacco if they continue to smoke throughout the course of their life. Raising the minimum age at which teenagers can be sold tobacco products will reduce the availability of cigarettes, and could therefore discourage young people from taking up smoking in the first place."

Retailers that stock tobacco will have a legal obligation not to sell to under 18s and will risk prosecution and a fine of up to

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