NO-One under the age of 18 will be able to buy Cigarettes in Scotland from 1 October this year, the Executive will announce today. ...
NO-One under the age of 18 will be able to buy Cigarettes in Scotland from 1 October this year, the Executive will announce today.
Shona Robison, the minister for public health, will unveil plans to raise the legal age for buying tobacco from 16 in a speech in Dundee.
She will set the date as 1 October because this is the day that cigarette sales will be banned for the under-18s in England and Wales.
Ms Robison will announce plans to table a Parliamentary order at Holyrood before the Scottish Parliament rises at the start of next month.
That order will make it illegal for anybody under the age of 18 to buy tobacco and for shopkeepers to sell Cigarettes or other tobacco products to the under 18s.
The move to raise the legal age was initiated by the Labour-Lib Dem Executive.
This has allowed Ms Robison to build on and complete the work dOne by the previous Executive, which included a full consultation process.
Selling tobacco products to minors carries a fine of up to ?2,500 but very few shopkeepers are ever convicted of this.
The change will bring Scotland into line with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Irish Republic and Spain.The age limit in France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark, South Africa and the Netherlands remains at 16.
UK research has shown that people aged 16 and 17 spend More than ?33 million on six million packets of Cigarettes a year and 13- to 15-year-olds buy nearly three million packets a year at a cost of More than ?15 million.
Neil Rafferty, a spokesman for the pro-smoking group Forest, said he had no problem with raising the age, but ministers had to work on enforcement or their new laws would be ineffective.
He added: "There is a wider debate here about when adulthood begins. According to the government, you can get married or join the army when you are 16 - but not smoke."
Maureen Moore, the chief executive of the anti-smoking group ASH Scotland, said: "This announcement is to be welcomed. Scotland has the highest rate of young smokers in Britain so I hope this will help Reduce the numbers of young people in Scotland taking up smoking."
However she added: "If the new purchase age is to do any good then effective enforcement of the law, backed by tobacco licensing, is vital. Retailers who sell Cigarettes to anyOne under age must be properly penalised."
The Scottish Grocers' Federation said ministers had to introduce a national proof-of-age card to protect shop workers who will have to turn away 16 and 17 year olds no longer able to buy Cigarettes.
John Drummond, its chief executive, said: "
Now with 16 and 17 year olds set to lose their ability to smoke overnight, it is shop workers, not the police or politicians, who will be expected to enforce the law."
And Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said that while her organisation was fully behind the change, it wanted to see a massive information campaign to prevent trouble.
She said: "This will make it much easier for retailers because most age-restricted products are available only to the over-18s, but we want to make sure the Executive develops a very robust campaign in terms of information to young people, we don't want any confrontations or flashpoints."
Permitting life's landmarks
WHAT are you allowed to do legally at 16?
• Get married.
• Have sex.
• Join the armed forces, but not fight on the front line.
• Start your own business and become a company director.
• Drink alcohol - but only beer and cider with a meal in a licensed premises.
• Leave school.
• Pay taxes.
• Be employed full-time.
• Pay adult fares on public transport.
What can you do at 17?
• Learn to drive a car.
What can you do at 18?
Fight on the front line in the armed forces.
• buy alcohol and drink it.