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Scotland to Crackdown on Cigarette Machines

Thursday, December 25th, 2008 Scotland to Crackdown on Cigarette Machines

According to the BBC (23 12 08). It has been stated that he Scottish Government will crackdown on the on the use of cigarette vending machines by youngsters. A sound initiative in the prevention of smoking in relation to minors.

Hitherto the legislation will be introduced next year. There will also be stricter controls on the sale of tobacco from the machines to restrict access by under-18s. Quite frankly this positive action has been a long time coming.

Tobacco use kills 13,500 people in Scotland every year and remains Scotland’s greatest public health challenge.

Furthermore, with reference to a recent BBC article (19 12 08.) The number of young people smoking in Scotland has returned to a level last seen nearly 10 years ago, according to a report by health officials.

Indeed the survey revealed nearly a third of people between 16-24 are smokers. In 2004 the number of young smokers in Scotland had fallen to just 25% but by 2007 that figure was 31%.

Significantly, the NHS Health Scotland and Scottish Public Health Observatory study revealed that in the 16 to 19 age group, females are more likely to smoke - while the highest rates are found among young offenders and care leavers. The suggestion is clear, smoking appears to effect the more vulnerable and poorer communities.

In the 16-19 age group, young women generally have higher smoking rates than young men. In the 20-24 age group, male rates exceed female rates.

The impact and danger of smoking is so significant that smokers from Falkirk will not be able to foster children under three from next month - unless there are “exceptional circumstances”.

The ban will also apply to carers where children of any age suffer a disability, respiratory or heart problems.

Youngsters who come from non-smoking households will also be prevented from living with smokers.

Shona Robinson the Public Health Minister has made the pledge in a letter to SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson.

Equally, the British Heart Foundation continue to apply pressure on National Government, more specifically towards Dawn Primarolo in the pursuit of sticking to her guns after media reports that tobacco control measures to protect children from smoking were going to be watered down.

In contrast however, tobacco manufacturers argue that there is no need for the machines to be banned.

Although, the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA) backed the continued use of tobacco vending machines with age verification access.

Indeed, a spokesperson A spokesman said: “Access to cigarette vending machines should be controlled in order to prevent sales to children and the National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators (NACMO) Code of Practice on the positioning of machines should be strictly adhered to.

Mr Gibson has a motion before parliament calling for an outright ban on tobacco vending machines.

He said: “It may be getting more difficult for people under the legal age to buy cigarettes over the counter, but it is still easy to access them by using vending machines.

“With access, there follows temptation and then consumption. That is why a complete ban on these machines is necessary.

“Recent reports of continuing problems with youth smoking make this ban all the more important.”

Organisations including ASH, the BMA, Asthma UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research and the Royal College of Physicians are contacting all MSPs urging them to back a ban on vending machines.

There is most certainly collective support from all the relevant health agencies. Thus it is clear that taking away temptation, will have an impact in smoking reduction and health benefits.

Other measures have included raising the legal age from 16 - 18 a year ago.

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