CIGARETTE distributor Carreras last week relaunched its Youth Smoking Prevention (YSP) campaign with the support of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Child Development Agency (CDA).
The programme, which will run through August 2010, will cost the tobacco company $1.5 million to implement, according to Carreras' Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Manager Christopher Brown.
"We believe Carreras must ensure that it remains actively cognisant of the views and expectations of the broader group of stakeholders, not just those who consume the products, but also those who have become the eternal critics of the tobacco industry," Brown said at the launch.
Under the Child Care and Protection Act it is illegal to sell cigarettes to persons under age 18 and Carreras, with 99 per cent market share, is the largest distributor of cigarettes locally.
Brown explained that the company's trademark representatives had initiated ongoing dialogue with its 2,500 retailers to exercise greater vigilance in prohibiting the purchase of cigarettes by persons under 18.
He said retailers must verify the age of those who purchase cigarettes where possible through identification, and in cases when they are in doubt, they must not sell. Addressing the media at the launch, Brown said that those retailers found to be delinquent in abiding by this request would be penalised by having their distribution right revoked.
"Our objective is to effectively tackle underage access to cigarettes at the point of sale in 100 per cent of the 2,500 retail outlets islandwide which carry Carreras' tobacco products," said Brown. Carreras' outlets represent 40 per cent of the total number of outlets carrying tobacco products.
The rebranded effort, first launched in 2008, will now feature the logos of the MOE and CDA on all YSP point of sale communication materials, which Brown said would add credibility to the programme. A new logo that is easier to read sends out a direct message that: "I/We don't sell cigarettes to persons under 18. It's the Law."