Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..

July 7, 2009 - Tobacco industry will try to "delay, dilute and damage" new measures in Scotland aimed at curbing sales to young people, anti-smoking campaigners warned today.

Leaders of ASH Scotland said it was "inevitable" that tobacco firms would continue to challenge proposed legislation from the Scottish Government, which includes a ban on tobacco displays in shops. Sheila Duffy, ASH Scotland chief executive, spoke out as the organization launched a new campaign to highlight public support for the measures.

Members of the public are being urged to write to local stores giving their backing for proposals in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill.

Ms Duffy said the legislation - which is currently going through Holyrood (Scottish Government)_- aimed to "prevent children from smoking by stopping the visibility and availability of cigarettes to young people including removing cigarette displays at the point of sale".

But Ms Duffy said: "Inevitably however, the tobacco industry will continue to challenge the measures outlined in the Bill and do all it can to delay, dilute and damage the legislation. By employing scaremongering and misinformation tactics they have made retailers afraid of this law rather than embracing it as an opportunity to remove a lethal product from display."

Ms Duffy said it was "natural" for stores to be uneasy about moves to change the way products are displayed, but stressed the proposed new laws would not stop them selling tobacco to adult smokers.

ASH Scotland's Pride of Place? campaign aims to capitalise on public support for the measures, after a poll found 57% of people backed removing promotional tobacco displays, compared to 21% who were opposed to this.

And the group is urging people to write to shops outlining their support for the Bill.

Ms Duffy said: "We want to take our message direct to shopkeepers and counter the misinformation from the tobacco industry through our Pride of Place? campaign.

"Shopkeepers need to know that the public support the removal of cigarette promotional displays because it will stop the marketing of tobacco to children and young people.

"By joining our Pride of Place? campaign, we are urging people to write to the shops they use on a regular basis from the local shops where they live and work, to the garage where they get their petrol, to the large supermarket they get their weekly shop, to let them know they welcome this policy, and why."

And she said: "We must never forget the 13,500 deaths in Scotland every year due to smoking, the thousands who are affected by disease and ill health, and the 15,000 young Scots who start smoking every year.

"If we all work together, and make our voices heard, we can cut the pipeline of new young smokers to the tobacco industry.".

Reference: Tobacco industry 'will undermine' Scotland's attempts to curb sale, The Herald, 7/7/2009.

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Scottish Coalition on Tobacco:

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