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Interest in Proof of Age Card 18 August 2004

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading has reported considerable interest in the new 18+ Proof of Age.

Over the past few weeks the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading has been promoting the new 18+ Proof of Age Card in the media and at the two Agricultural Shows on the Island and is very pleased with the interest shown by both potential card holders and the retail and licensing trade.

The new cards will be available from the Office from 1st September 2004 and the Office together with the Isle of Man Constabulary have been distributing packs to retailers containing an advertising poster, a set of application forms with a display stand, a specimen card and guidance notes for staff on the importance of asking for the card and how to check the authenticity of a card presented to them by a customer.

The sale of cigarettes and tobacco products, alcohol, fireworks, solvents, videos and petrol are all controlled by laws which restrict the age at which they can be bought. Retailers and licensees can find it difficult to assess the age of young people wishing to buy these goods. The new Proof of Age card will help them comply with the law. It will allow anyone of 18 years or more to buy the goods they want hassle-free. Under 18s will be deterred from trying to buy, if they see the Proof of Age card is required.

Local trade organisations, the Licensed Victuallers Association and the Manx Off-licence initiative (Moli) are urging licensees to support the use of the card by displaying an advertising poster, having the application forms available on their premises and training staff to always ask young people for the card. The more often young people are asked for it the more likely they are to obtain one.

The Office were particularly pleased with the support of visitors to its marquees at the Southern and Royal Agricultural Shows. There was significant interest in the card and the unanimous verdict of the visitors was that the card was both necessary and accessible for young people.

The Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading Quintin Gill MHK is delighted at the response of the public and the trade to the introduction of the new cards, he said:

"I am very pleased with the positive reaction we have had to the cards. I know that retailers and licensees take their responsibilities under the law extremely seriously and this card will be of great assistance to them. It is essential then that they always ask for the card if they have any question at all over the age of a young person asking to buy these goods.

"The card itself has an eye-catching and lively design which is a great improvement over many similar cards that I have seen advertised elsewhere and I'm sure young people would be happy to carry it. My congratulations to Alan Quirk and Craig Watterson, the two students from the Isle of Man College whose design the card was based upon."

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