Despite the ban, two-thirds of tobacconists (64%) continue to sell tobacco to minors. This is the result of a study conducted in 2021 by the National Committee against Smoking, published Thursday March 10, which highlights a “stagnation” the results obtained compared to the last survey, conducted in 2019.
According to the study, 70% of the tobacconists visited do not ask their customer’s age and 15% of them, informed of the minor’s age, agree to sell him tobacco. The situation is more worrying in large cities: only 23% of tobacconists in cities with more than 15,000 inhabitants refuse to sell to minors, compared to 48% for cities with less than 3,500 inhabitants. In France, however, the law prohibits the sale of tobacco to those under 16 since 2003, and to those under 18 since 2009.
The study is part of an overall project, financed by the Fund for the fight against addictions, within the framework of a national program for the fight against tobacco. “The objective is to achieve a tobacco-free generation by 2030. That is to say that less than 5% of young people reaching the age of majority in 2030 use tobacco”explains Emmanuelle Béguinot, director of the National Committee against Smoking.
Too few checks
The survey was conducted through 403 mystery visits in November 2021. The visits are carried out in pairs with a 17-year-old who comes to buy tobacco, and an accompanying adult responsible for checking the signage relating to the ban on smoking. sale to minors. The results obtained highlight a degradation on this second point. Two out of three tobacconists visited display a poster announcing the ban, but only 42% have a poster that is visible and complies with the decree in force, compared to 49% in 2019.
A situation “unacceptable”, for meme Béguinot, while a “raising awareness” was conducted with tobacconists. The committee advocates more controls, too rare, according to him, or even non-existent. “The profession of tobacconists has been greatly aided and financed by the public authorities, through contracts for the future, aid for diversification, or increased remuneration. In exchange, they were supposed to respect the laws in force.comments M.me Beguinot.
“Smoking is a pediatric epidemic, nothing can justify a massively subsidized profession persisting in these illegal practices, dissuasive sanctions must be applied”insists Yves Martinet, Chairman of the Committee. “There have indeed been administrative closures for the non-control of sanitary passes. We are asking for an effective device: the withdrawal or suspension of the license when there is a repeat offense”adds M.me Beguinot.
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