The City of Greater Bendigo is warning retailers they face increased fines if caught selling tobacco products to minors.
Manager Environmental Health and Local Laws Susannah Milne said three out of 19 businesses failed the recent round of tobacco test purchasing conducted by the city.
“Tobacco retailers have an obligation to protect minors from the harmful effects of tobacco and if a customer looks to be under 25 years of age, then they should ask for some identification,” Ms Milne said.
“The new financial year has brought with it a new increase in penalty units, so an on the spot fine of $590 can be issued to an individual or $8856 to a company found selling tobacco products to a person under the age of 18 years.
“The city is committed to reducing the social acceptability of smoking behaviours. The introduction of new state government smoke-free laws for children’s recreation areas supports this focus, however it is also important to have retailers on side and not have them supplying tobacco to minors.”
The test purchase program is routinely conducted by the city to ensure retailers are reminded of their obligation not to sell tobacco to minors under the Tobacco Act 1987.
Environmental Health Officers regularly visit tobacco retailers to educate them about their obligations under the Act. Retailers and the general public are encouraged to contact the city if they have any concerns or queries about the sale of tobacco products and requirements under the Act.
There are strict protocols surrounding the training and recruitment of teenage test purchasing assistants.