ASH Scotland supports tobacco products age of sale raising proposal and calls for law change in Scotland

29 November 2023

ASH Scotland is today declaring its support for the proposal in the ‘Creating a smokefree generation’ consultation run by the UK Government and devolved administrations, including the Scottish Government, which would see legislation being brought forward to make it an offence to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

The proposal would stop children turning 14 in 2023 or younger from ever legally being sold tobacco products and, in effect, would raise the smoking age by a year each year until it applies to the whole population.

The charity, however, is highlighting that the law in Scotland, which uniquely in the UK, currently makes it illegal for under-aged customers to purchase tobacco products should be changed to avoid the criminalising of young consumers who are addicted.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “We welcome the determination of the governments at Holyrood and Westminster in prioritising public health actions to reduce the horrendous impacts imposed by the tobacco industry and its lethal products on society.

“Tobacco continues to be the biggest preventable killer of people in Scotland, causing more than 8,000 deaths each year and approaches containing a range of measures are needed to accelerate progress in reducing the harms and inequalities caused by the use of tobacco.

“ASH Scotland supports the proposal to prevent anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 from being sold tobacco by retailers. It is vital, however, that the law in Scotland, which currently makes it illegal for under-aged customers to purchase tobacco products, should be changed to ensure that no young consumers are criminalised. Person-centred support should be provided for those young people who are addicted to tobacco to help them progress towards a life free from using this addictive, health harming substance.

“Raising the age of sale in itself will not deliver a tobacco-free generation by the target year of 2034 in Scotland. ASH Scotland advocates that strong measures including removing addictive nicotine from tobacco products and reducing the availability and visibility of tobacco also merit consideration, if we are to eradicate the damage that profit-centred multi-national tobacco corporations are continuing to inflict on people’s lives in Scotland.”

The ‘Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping’ consultation closes on Wednesday 6 December 2023.