Campaigners have criticised the Scottish government’s support for standardised packaging of tobacco.
Support for the measure is included in a new tobacco-control strategy that includes also provision for “education” programs for young people and that aims ultimately to create a smoke-free nation by 2034, defined as one where fewer than five percent of the population smokes.
Smoking rates in Scotland have fallen from 31 percent in 1999 to 23 percent in 2011, but remain as high as 40 percent in the most deprived communities.
To meet the 5 percent target, the strategy sets out a series of milestones, which will see smoking reduced to 17 percent by 2016, 12 percent by 2021 and 9 percent by 2026.
“We support all reasonable measures, including education, that will discourage children from smoking,” said Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign.
“Plain packaging is unreasonable because there is no credible evidence that it will have any impact on youth smoking rates.
“There is a real risk that standardised packaging, like excessive taxation, will encourage illicit trade and if that happens, those at greatest risk will be children, because criminal gangs don’t care who they sell cigarettes to.
“Plain packaging is designed to denormalize a legal product and millions of adult consumers. What next? Alcohol, fizzy drinks and fast food?”
Category: Breaking News