Calls to make possessing tobacco a criminal offence for under-16s
Wednesday 27 February 2013
Tobacconists and petrol station owners are calling on parliament to make it a criminal offence for the under-16s to be caught with tobacco products, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday.
Shopkeepers caught selling cigarettes to youngsters face a fine of €450 but the young teenagers themselves get off scot-free, the organisations argue.
'The youngsters get away with it. But why should the responsibility not be shared?,' Edsko Schuitema of petrol station owner lobby group Beta is quoted by the paper as saying.
The two organisations were reacting to European Commission plans to make tobacco companies include off-putting images of the health risks associated with smoking on every packet.
'If you want to stop a 14-year-old buying cigarettes, you have to fine them for possession,' said Gert Koudijs, of the tobacconist shop owners' assocation NSO.
MPs are considering plans to increase the age at which teenagers can buy cigarettes from 16 to 18, following industry calls for an increase.
On January 1, it became a criminal offence for the under-16s to be caught with alcohol. If they are caught with alcohol in bars or at events they face a cash penalty.
MPs will vote later on Wednesday on proposals to increase the age at which teenagers can buy alcoholic drinks from 16 to 18. All but the anti-Islam PVV and the D66 liberals are in favour.
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