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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 16:47 GMT
Tobacco licensing plan outlined
Cigarette packets
Ministers welcomed the debate the plans would bring
Ministers have given a positive response to proposals for licensing the sale of tobacco.

SNP backbencher Christine Grahame claimed the move was the only way to enforce new laws which raised the purchase age to 18.

The Scottish Government welcomed debate on the issue as part of its smoking prevention plans.

The Newsagents Federation raised concern about the plan, saying it was another piece of red tape.

Ms Grahame, a South of Scotland MSP, has launched a consultation on her licensing proposals, ahead of plans to bring draft legislation to parliament on the issue.

New proposals

She said: "I don't want to stop smokers getting cigarettes, but I do want the law properly upheld and enforced. At present that is not happening.

"The recent increase in age limit for buying tobacco rose from 16 to 18 but, without real deterrents in place, I doubt whether those retailers who previously sold cigarettes to underage people will be put off by that increase, welcome though it is."

Public health minister Shona Robison said the Scottish Government was currently developing proposals for a new five-year smoking prevention action plan, to be published early next year.

"Given the work going on to develop the five-year smoking prevention action plan, the Scottish Government welcomes the debate on licensing which Ms Grahame's proposals will generate and will take this into account when developing its proposals," she said.

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