Thursday, 26 February 2009



Proposals from the Scottish Government to ban the use of cigarette vending machines as part of a package of measures to reduce the display and availability of cigarettes have been welcomed by the MSP who first proposed the ban.

Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North, won cross party backing for a parliamentary motion calling for a ban on vending machines to control sale of cigarettes to under 18s as part of a campaign alongside ASH, the BMA, Asthma UK, Cancer Research and the Royal College of Physicians.

Mr Gibson also raised the issue with Public Health Minister Shona Robison who agreed to consider his proposals.

Welcoming today’s bill Mr Gibson, who also put forward the initial proposals behind the ban on smoking in public places said;

“Vending machines – no matter how well policed – left people of all ages – particularly those under 18 with easy access to cigarettes.

“Banning vending machines removes temptation from many people and will help to restrict access for underage smokers.

“Today’s proposals are a step forward in controlling the sale of tobacco products – a national register of tobacco retailers is a major step in stopping unlawful sales and in policing tobacco sales.

“Removing cigarettes from display and taking away the temptation of vending machines in Scotland’s pubs, clubs and public spaces will bring a real change to the culture of smoking and hopefully see Scotland take the next step in breaking our cigarette habit and improving our young people’s health.”

The background to this interesting news story from the Scottish Government.

1. Figures from ISD Scotland show that 1 in 10 13-15 year old smokers use vending machines for regular purchases.
Evidence compiled by the British Heart Foundation shows

      · 1 in 6 children and young people in England buy cigarettes from vending machines
      · Test purchasing in Solihull discovered that vending machines were the easiest place for children and teenagers to buy cigarettes.

2. In a letter to Kenneth Gibson, Public Health Minister Shona Robison stated;
“As I made clear in my statement to the Scottish Parliament on 21 May 2008 when I launched the Smoking Prevention Action Plan "Scotland's Future is Smoke-free", issues surrounding vending machines sales are to be addressed in the review and update of tobacco sales law to reduce the availability of cigarettes and other tobacco products to our children and young people. It is clear that there is a need for further controls on the sale of tobacco from vending machines to restrict access by children and young people and I can confirm that further controls on the sale of tobacco from vending machines will be included in the provisions of the proposed Health (Scotland) Bill which is to be introduced in 2009.

3. Kenneth Gibson’s Parliamentary Motion – lodged on 20th November is below
S3M-02936 Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (Scottish National Party): Ban Tobacco Vending Machines— That the Parliament welcomes the British Heart Foundation’s campaign for a ban on tobacco sold from vending machines across the United Kingdom; notes that one in 10 under-age smokers in Scotland regularly buys tobacco illegally from vending machines and that this proportion could increase following the rise in the minimum legal age for purchase of tobacco; warmly welcomes the developments on tobacco control in recent years in Scotland, including the particular focus on young people in the Smoking Prevention Action Plan, and urges the Scottish Government to continue to lead the way in the United Kingdom on tobacco control by legislating for an outright ban on the sale of tobacco from vending machines in the forthcoming Health Bill.

Supported by: Dr Alasdair Allan, Bashir Ahmad, Christina McKelvie, Dr Bill Wilson, Dr Ian McKee, Robin Harper, Jamie Hepburn, Gil Paterson, Stuart McMillan, Hugh Henry, Tom McCabe, Dr Richard Simpson

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