Retailers have called on the government to be much more consistent when implementing new legislation, especially with laws surrounding underaged sales.

Retailers attending the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) Responsible Retailing Forum, told representatives from the Department of Health (DoH) and the Home Office that more “joined up” thinking was needed across government departments when it came to implementing legislation.

The different laws and penalties for underaged tobacco and alcohol sales made policing the problem much harder than it needed to be, retailers said.

Retailers currently face a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy for selling tobacco to under 18s, but a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy for alcohol. 

The laws and penalties on proxy purchasing were also confusing for staff, retailers said. Buying alcohol for under-18s carries an £80 fixed penalty notice and a fine of up to £5,000, yet there is still no penalty for an adult who purchases tobacco for a minor.