Smoking :: New licensing scheme for cigarette sales – Scotland

Shopkeepers who sell cigarettes to underagers should lose their right to sell tobacco products, Health Minister Andy Kerr said today as he launched a consultation on whether the legal age to buy cigarettes should be raised from 16 to 18.

Known as ‘negative licensing’, traders are assumed to have the right to sell cigarettes until they are caught breaking the law.

It was one of 31 recommendation in the Smoking Prevention Working Group’s report – Towards a Future Without Tobacco.

Mr Kerr said:

“I have already made clear that I want to raise the age of cigarette sales from 16 to 18 to protect young people from the dangers of tobacco.

“But I also want to move a step further and bring in powers to stop traders from selling cigarettes to underagers.

“I know that the vast majority of retailers take their responsibilities in this area very seriously but we must clamp down on the small minority who do not.

“I want to find out, through consultation, if changing the law in this way is something the public supports.

“But I also want to make it clear that the consultation announced today are not just about negative licensing or raising the age – it is about the wide range of recommendations put forward by the Smoking Prevention Working Group to tackle tobacco consumption.

“Given the impact of these proposals on young people, we want to make sure they are fully involved in the consultation.

“That is why we are involving youth information service Young Scot and the Scottish Youth Parliament in the consultation as well as holding regional seminars.

“This is a very important public consultation which is likely to form the basis for a five-year action plan on smoking. I hope as many people as possible across Scotland as possible will get involved.”

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