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Protect children from the allure of smoking, say doctors

BMA Scotland has warned that children who smoke face years of tobacco addiction that can lead to life-threatening diseases and premature death. 

The association also called on MSPs to support the proposals contained in the Tobacco and Primary Medical services (Scotland) Bill to reduce children’s exposure to tobacco products.

Findings in the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) published today show that, although it is illegal to sell cigarettes to children under the age of 18, 42% of 13-year-old regular smokers and 57% of 15-year-old regular smokers reported buying cigarettes from a shop.

To achieve a smokefree Scotland by 2035, BMA Scotland wants to see a robust approach to tobacco control to reduce the number of teens who smoke.

Dr Peter Terry, Chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: "It is essential that cigarettes are made less accessible to children.  Banning point of sale displays and getting rid of tobacco vending machines will go some way to doing this.

“Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems. It ages skin, makes your breath smell and stains fingers yellow. Every day doctors witness the death and despair caused by smoking.

“We need to break the tobacco trap. Young smokers will become tomorrow’s parents who smoke and they will continue the cycle of smoking-related ill-health.”

Information Services Division Scotland