The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee recommendation to criminalise the proxy purchasing of tobacco but believes the Scottish Government must go further and make it an offence for an under 18 year old to attempt to purchase tobacco. However, the recommendation to ban the display of tobacco is wrong and will be damaging to small shops.
John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation said,
“The single most likely way for a young person to get hold of cigarettes is through an adult. Currently there is no legal deterrent to adults who supply tobacco for young people. Moves to criminalising proxy purchasing, as suggested in the Stage One Report on the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill, would be welcome. Proxy purchasing tobacco for young people is immoral and should be illegal.
“It is clearly wrong for an under 18 to attempt to deceive a retailer and obtain a product that they are not old enough to consume. SGF believes it should be illegal and would encourage the Scottish Government to have parity with alcohol on this issue.
“We are extremely disappointed the Committee has recommended a ban on the display of tobacco despite their own admission that the international evidence to support this measure is inconclusive. SGF has repeatedly made the argument that regulations should only be made when they are supported by compelling evidence. A display ban will impose a significant burden on retailers at a time when they can least afford it.”