Scottish Government
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Reducing child smoking rates

Ending the display of cigarettes in shops will help reduce child smoking in future generations, Public Health Minister Shona Robison said today.

The move is one of the proposals in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill which receives its stage one debate in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday September 19, 2009.

The minister made her comments during a visit to Perth shopkeeper Khalid Khurshid who supports the plans to ban tobacco displays.

The bill's proposals include:

  • Banning tobacco displays in shops
  • Banning cigarette vending machines
  • Introducing a registration scheme for retailers
  • Fixed penalty notices for retailers who sell cigarettes to under 18s
  • Banning orders to prevent retailers selling cigarettes if they continually flout the law.

Ms Robison said:

"For decades, too many Scots families have watched loved ones suffer and die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses.

"We're determined to do all we can to end this misery and, particularly, to stop children and young people from starting to smoke in the first place.

"That's why, as part of our drive to improve the nation's health, we are taking decisive action to make cigarettes less attractive and less easily available to children.

"Stopping future generations from smoking will help us make a huge leap forward in improving Scotland's health and I believe our proposals will help us do just that.

"The cost of smoking is so high - both in terms of blighted lives and the 400 million pounds cost to the NHS annually - that it's essential we take further firm action now."

Mr Khurshid, who runs Muirton Food Market in Perth, said:

"The tobacco display ban proposals going before parliament this week will act to deter people from smoking, particularly the young.

"There are two schools near my shop and school children often come in and look at the display before asking adults passing by to purchase cigarettes for them.

"In my opinion tobacco companies are trying to scare retailers by suggesting that if displays are banned, business will close. I disagree with this and completely support this bid to end cigarette displays."

The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill was published in February and the stage one debate is on Thursday September 19, 2009.

The bill is expected to complete its passage through the parliament by the beginning of next year. Large retailers will then have until 2011 to implement the display ban while small retailers will have until 2013.

Smoking in public places in Scotland was banned on March 26, 2006. On October 1, 2007, the minimum age for buying cigarettes was raised to 18.

A survey of over 2,000 11-14 year olds in California found that exposure to tobacco marketing in convenience stores increased the chances of a child smoking by up to 50 per cent.

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