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Tobacco licensing vital in tackling underage smoking, says BMA

20 November 2007

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The British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland says it supports the campaign for licensing tobacco to ensure it is sold in a similar way to alcohol.

The BMA says it believes that legislation would represent a significant step towards tackling teen smoking.

While the BMA welcomed the age increase for purchasing tobacco, it adds that a licensing system would ensure that this age is effectively enforced and would deliver the message that action will be taken against offenders.

A recent survey found that 93% of doctors wanted retailers to be encouraged to stop selling to underage children by introducing a license to sell cigarettes that would be removed from persistent offenders.

Peter Terry, chair of BMA Scotland, said: “Legislation would represent another step forward for Scotland in tackling one of its biggest preventable causes of death.

“We need to convey the important social message that tobacco is harmful and discourage young people from starting such an addictive and dangerous habit.

“Introducing a licensing scheme for tobacco would be an effective part of a package of measures to achieve this.”

BMA Scotland

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