As a precautionary measure and action against smoking in Scotland, it would stop sales of tobacco to people under 18. Only adults would be permitted to buy it.
Ministers have not decided whether to back the recommendation, but they are likely to do so, given Jack McConnell's determination to reduce smoking rates in Scotland.
AdvertisementIn the words of Maureen Moore, the chief executive of Ash Scotland and a member of the expert group, "Smoking is far worse than drinking. I am in favour of the ban on under-18s being able to buy cigarettes as part of a whole tobacco control strategy. If you raise the age, you are sending out a powerful message about the danger of tobacco and bringing it in line with the restrictions on the sale of alcohol."
According to a new study 6 per cent of 13-year-olds were regular smokers, with nearly two thirds buying cigarettes from shops. Almost 20 per cent of 15-year-olds smoke regularly and 86 per cent say they buy cigarettes from shops. This has sparked this step towards protecting health of individuals.