In the last issue I carried some comments from a retailer whose mature staff objected to JTI’s Youth Access Prevention campaign on the basis that the employee was well experienced and a good judge of kids’ ages.

Jeremy Blackburn, JTI head of communications, emphasises that those under the age of 18 should not have access to tobacco products and I’m sure we can all agree on that.

He says: “This belief is central to JTI’s Code of Conduct, marketing practices, operational policies and the way that JTI does business. JTI is committed to playing a full role in youth smoking prevention, but ultimate success depends on all elements of society working together.

“The JTI pilot scheme incorporates three core elements: test purchasing staff training and strengthening the ‘No ID, No Sale’ campaign. The test purchasing element is supported by Serve Legal, an independent company which uses younger-looking 18- and 19- year-old mystery shoppers to check that retailers are complying with best practice, not to check whether they are breaking any laws.”

He adds that this has been made clear in all of the company’s communications with the retail trade throughout the campaign.

“When it comes to tobacco, the view of Trading Standards is that a policy of Challenge 25 should be applied. Through a combination of test purchasing, to see which businesses may be at risk, and professional training for those that may need assistance - particularly those who may not be able to fund their own staff training - we hope to raise performance levels in this crucial area of retailing.”

And finally he says: “Nobody should feel that they have ‘failed’ - but should instead feel that they are in a position to take advantage of the free, professional advice that’s on offer to them.”