Clause 79 - Commencement

Part of Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 14 May 2024.

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New clause 6—Age verification policy—

“(1) A person commits an offence if the person—

(a) carries on a tobacco, herbal smoking product or vaping product business, and

(b) fails to operate an age verification policy in respect of premises at which the person carries on the tobacco, herbal smoking product or vaping product business.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to premises (“the business premises”) from which—

(a) tobacco products, herbal smoking products, cigarette papers or vaping products are, in pursuance of a sale, despatched for delivery to different premises, and

(b) no other tobacco, herbal smoking product or vaping product business is carried on from the business premises.

(3) Before the specified date, an “age verification policy” is a policy that steps are to be taken to establish the age of a person attempting to buy a tobacco product, cigarette papers or a vaping product on the premises (the “customer”) if it appears to the person selling the tobacco product, cigarette papers or vaping product that the customer may be under the age of 25 (or such older age as may be specified in the policy).

(4) After the specified date, an “age verification policy”—

(a) in relation to a tobacco business or herbal smoking product business, is a policy that steps are to be taken to establish the age of a person attempting to buy a tobacco product, cigarette papers, herbal smoking product or cigarette papers on the premises (the “customer”) if it appears to the person selling the tobacco product, cigarette papers, herbal smoking product or cigarette papers that the customer may have been born on or after 1 January 2009 (or such earlier date as may be specified in the policy);

(b) in relation to a vaping product business, is a policy that steps are to be taken to establish the age of a person attempting to buy a vaping product on the premises (the “customer”) if it appears to the person selling the vaping product that the customer may be under the age of 25 (or such older age as may be specified in the policy).

(5) In relation to times before the end of 2033, the reference in subsection (4)(a) to the customer being born on or after 1 January 2009 (or such earlier date as may be specified in the policy) has effect as a reference to the customer being under the age of 25 (or such older age as may be specified in the policy).

(6) The appropriate national authority may by regulations amend the age specified in subsection (3) or (4)(b).

(7) The appropriate national authority may publish guidance on matters relating to age verification policies, including, in particular, guidance about—

(a) steps that should be taken to establish a customer’s age,

(b) documents that may be shown to the person selling a tobacco product, cigarette papers, herbal smoking product or a vaping product as evidence of a customer’s age,

(c) training that should be undertaken by the person selling the tobacco product, cigarette papers, herbal smoking product or vaping product,

(d) the form and content of notices that should be displayed in the premises,

(e) the form and content of records that should be maintained in relation to an age verification policy.

(8) A person who carries on a tobacco, herbal smoking product or vaping product business must have regard to guidance published under subsection (7) when operating an age verification policy.

(9) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.

(10) Regulations under subsection (6) are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

(11) In this section—

“the appropriate national authority” means—

(a) in relation to England, the Secretary of State, and

(b) in relation to Wales, the Welsh Ministers,

“herbcal smoking product business” means a business involving the sale of herbal smoking products by retail,

“the specified date” is 1 January 2027,

“tobacco business” means a business involving the sale of tobacco products by retail,

“tobacco, herbal smoking product or vaping product business” means a business which involves any one or more of the following—

(a) a tobacco business,

(b) a herbal smoking product business, or

(c) a vaping product business,

“vaping product business” means a business involving the sale of vaping products by retail.”

This new clause introduces a requirement on tobacco, herbal smoking or vaping product businesses to operate an age verification policy covering steps to be taken to establish the age of persons attempting to buy tobacco, herbal smoking or vaping products, or cigarette papers. It reflects provisions in place in Scotland.