Smoking Minors Let Off The Hook

11 Mar 2007 archivemedia

Certain persons in positions of authority, such as teachers and police officers, should have the express right to confiscate tobacco products from minors, Opposition Substance Abuse Minister Michelle Lensink said today.

Ms Lensink said she had introduced an amendment to the Tobacco Products Regulation (Expiation Fees) Amendment Bill that would allow persons in authority positions the right to confiscate tobacco from minors.

“Currently, any minor who has been caught buying tobacco products can walk away with the product and without punishment,” Ms Lensink said.

“The person selling the product to the minor cops a fine of up to $5000 yet there is no deterrent for the minor to stop them from buying or obtaining these products.

“In relation to alcohol, authorised officers within licensed premises have powers to confiscate alcohol from minors.

“Minors themselves who commit an offence if they obtain or consume alcohol, whether in a licensed premises or in a public place and if a person obtains alcohol on behalf of a minor, they are considered to have committed an offence.

“In contrast, while it is an offence in South Australia to sell or supply tobacco products to minors, once the products are in the possession there is nothing anyone can do about it.

“What kind of deterrent is it for minors to buy or obtain a tobacco product? If they get caught, they might get punished by a parent or caregiver but there is no actual offence being committed.

“It seems ridiculous to me that minors caught with tobacco products are not treated by the law in the same way as a minor caught with alcohol and it is time that the law was updated.”