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End of the road for tobacco displays
Moves to make smoking less attractive to children were today approved by the Scottish Parliament.
MSPs voted to approve the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill which will bring an end to the display of cigarettes and tobacco products in shops as well as banning sales from vending machines.
The bill also makes it a legal requirement that anyone running a GP practice must have a direct involvement in patient care.
Other changes included in the bill are:
- A registration scheme for tobacco retailers
- Fixed penalty notices for retailers who sell cigarettes to under 18s
- Making it an offence to buy cigarettes for an under 18 and for under 18s to buy cigarettes
- Banning orders to prevent retailers selling cigarettes if they continually flout the law
Public Health Minister Shona Robison said:
"It's vital that we reduce smoking rates in Scotland if we are to turn around our country's appalling health record.
"We've already made great strides - notably by banning smoking in public places and raising the age for buying cigarettes to 18.
"This bill goes further by introducing measures designed to stop children from starting to smoke in the first place.
"I believe it's wrong that a dangerous product like cigarettes should be prominently displayed in shops, where children can see them from an early age, or available from self-service vending machines.
"That's why I'm pleased that MSPs have today backed this bill which will prevent some of today's children from becoming tomorrow's smokers. Too many Scots' lives have already been prematurely lost to smoking-related diseases. I'm determined to do all I can to cut this death toll."
The display ban will come into force for large retailers in 2011 while small retailers will have until 2013 to implement the display ban.
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.
Although sales from vending machines account for less than one per cent of Scottish cigarette sales, 13 per cent of 13 year old smokers and ten per cent of 15 year old smokers report buying cigarettes from vending machines.