There is no point in increasing the age at which teenagers can legally buy cigarettes from 16 to 18 without stepping up controls on shops, according to anti-tobacco organisation Stichting Rookpreventie Jeugd.
The government plans to put up the age at which youngsters can buy tobacco products in an effort to reduce the number of teenagers taking up smoking.
The foundation claims the government’s inspectors are so busy trying to monitor smoking in cafes and bars that the number of age checks in supermarkets and shops has plunged.
Last year, the organisation says, there were 901 checks on under-age tobacco sales, compared with 8,756 in 2010. The figures come from unpublished figures from the inspectorate.
Other research dating from 2009 showed 90% of the under-16s are able to buy cigarettes without being asked their age.
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