ACS says tobacco licensing means more red tape for retailers

10 September, 2007

A call to introduce a licensing system for tobacco to help tackle tackle teen smoking has been criticised by the Association of Convenience Stores.

The British Medical Association’s Scottish council published a five point action plan on Sept 7 in which it said retailers should have to apply for a licence to sell tobacco to prevent underage sales.

But ACS chief executive James Lowman said such a system would be “disproportionate and costly” and would lead to more regulation and bureacracy for retailers.

He said: “A new system, with all the costs attached, should not be introduced when the existing penalties are not being used to their full extent.”

In its action plan, the BMA Scotland also suggested that cigarettes should not be placed at the point of sale, or sold in packets of 10. It also called for tobacco vending machines to be banned and for more investment to be made in education.

BMA Scotland member Dr Andrew Buist said although the introduction of new legislation to raise the legal purchasing age for tobacco to 18 was welcomed, the BMA thought more would need to be done to enforce the age limit.

He said: “If the new law is to be effective, we need stricter point of sales enforcement, supported by a wider strategy to reduce young people’s access to tobacco products.”

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