Retailers in the Irish Republic have been accused of flouting the law by selling cigarettes to children as young as eight. According to a survey carried out for the newly-established Office of Tobacco Control, only 8% of under-age smokers were asked for identification when buying cigarettes. Those surveyed were aged between eight and 17, while the minimum legal age at which a young person may buy cigarettes was recently raised to 18. The survey, conducted by the Market Research Bureau of Ireland, reported strong public support for tougher penalties against retailers who sell to under-18s, with 90% of those interviewed recommending that current fines be doubled. More than 80% believed that tobacco products should be sold under licence, and that offending retailers should have their licences revoked. RGDATA's director general Ailish Forde expressed serious concern at the findings, and added: "There's no excuse for any retailer who knowingly and deliberately supplies cigarettes to minors." She added that the survey also highlighted the fact that "thousands of minors" tried to purchase cigarettes daily, but faced no penalty. for doing so. This, she claimed, was "a glaring omission" in the tobacco control legislation currently being brought in by Health Minister Michael Martin. It imposed all responsibility for control of tobacco sales on retailers, while "young people attempting to buy cigarettes will not face any penalties and will escape scot free. Until this is tackled," she added, "the whole emphasis on enforcement will be unbalanced and ineffective." {{NEWS }}