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Scottish law proposals to tackle smoking welcomed by doctors

22 May 2008

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Doctors’ leaders have welcomed the publication of a new Smoking Prevention Action Plan for Scotland, which includes proposals for outlawing the display of cigarettes and other tobacco products at points of sale, and considering further steps to reduce underage sales from vending machines.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “Reducing the number of smokers in Scotland is a key part of our drive to turn the tide of Scotland’s poor health record.

“It’s crucial that we stop youngsters from starting. Today’s action plan is specifically aimed at doing just that by making cigarettes and other tobacco products less accessible, less attractive and less affordable to them.”

Dr Andrew Buist, a member of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Scottish Council and Deputy Chairman of the Scottish General Practitioners’ Committee, said:

“Tackling children’s addiction to tobacco is rightly a top priority for this government. A lifetime addicted to tobacco is a death sentence. Every day, 35 Scots die because of smoking related illnesses, but each day 41 new smokers are recruited.

“We must therefore do all we can to stop youngsters getting hooked in the first place by tackling the availability and attractiveness of cigarettes.

“Young people often buy cigarettes from vending machines because of the lack of age checks or they buy packs of 10 because they are cheaper. Addressing these two issues would significantly reduce the availability of cigarettes to young people.”

Dr Buist also highlighted the importance of obtaining UK-wide support for this Scottish Action Plan.

“The recommendations in this report are welcome but many of these need the support of the UK government in order to be implemented,” he said.

“We know that Scotland’s politicians have the courage to take bold steps to tackle Scotland’s biggest killer and it is now their job to convince politicians at Westminster to support this agenda.”

Scottish Government