ACS: Licensing System Would Not Address Challenges of Youth Access to Tobacco

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to new report from Imperial College London, raising concerns about calls for a new tobacco licensing system.

The Imperial College report cites NHS figures which claim that the majority of child smokers said it was easy to buy cigarettes in shops. However, just 4% of 11-15 year olds in the sample had attempted to buy cigarettes in a shop in the last year, and of those, around two thirds were refused the sale of cigarettes at least once.

Additional figures from the NHS ‘Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People’ survey show that the percentage of 11-15 year olds that have ever smoked has been in steady decline, falling from 49% in 1996 to 19% in 2016.

The NHS report also shows that the most common source of cigarettes for regular smokers in 2016 was to be given them by friends. There was a sharp decline in the percentage of regular smokers who usually bought cigarettes from shops between 2014 and 2016, which coincided with the extension of the tobacco display ban to all stores in 2015.

ACS chief executive James Lowman: “Convenience stores play an important role in preventing the sale of age restricted products to underage customers, and we have led the industry in introducing policies like Challenge 25. The most common source of tobacco for young people is from friends or family members, which would not be addressed by the introduction of a tobacco licensing system.”

The full NHS Digital report, Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England, is available in full at

The report from Imperial College London is available in full at:

This entry was posted by Chloe on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 14:59