An independent London newsagent has launched a petition calling for the government to make it illegal for underage people to attempt to buy tobacco.

Mahendra Jadeja of Jardins newsagents in Winchmore Hill said the public should bear as much responsibility for buying tobacco as retailers do when selling it. "All the onus is on the retailer," he said. "If we make a mistake, we are liable to be prosecuted."

Jadeja said that after the government increased the age at which people can buy tobacco from 16 to 18 last October, he encountered aggression from young customers he could no longer serve. He is therefore calling for the law to be brought in line with alcohol purchases.

The petition, opened last week on the 10 Downing Street website, has so far received support from 78 people.