Speaking following the announcement today (Tuesday 5 June 2007) that the Scottish Executive plans to increase the purchase age of cigarettes from 16-18, Dr Andrew Buist, Deputy Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said:
“The BMA is delighted that the Scottish Executive will raise the purchase age of tobacco to 18 from 1 October 2007. Research shows that most smokers begin in adolescence and that the younger someone starts smoking, the less likely they are to give up.
“Raising the minimum purchase age of tobacco from 16 to 18 will decrease the number of young people smoking in Scotland by reducing the availability of cigarettes. When coupled with improved enforcement of the higher age limit, young teenagers will find it more difficult to purchase tobacco from shops.
“England and Wales are introducing this policy in October 2007 and implementing the policy in Scotland at the same time will be beneficial as campaigns to raise awareness could run in tandem and complement each other. The BMA has been calling for this move for several years and any further delay to implementation will leave more time for underage children to purchase cigarettes, causing significant damage to their health in the short and longer term.”