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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Smoking age law must be 'rigid'
Ann-Marie Low, Fred Milne and Geraldine Paolozzi
Ann-Marie Low, Fred Milne and Geraldine Paolozzi on a break
A Fife trading standards officer has warned enforcement of the new law to increase the legal age for buying tobacco from 16 to 18 has to be rigid.

Geoff Bates, a Fife Council trading standards officer said the age increase was "meaningless" unless it was "adequately enforced".

The move, which was announced on Tuesday, was backed by the previous Scottish Executive.

Smokers under the age of 18 will be unable to buy tobacco from October.

Mr Bates said he welcomed the move to increase the age limit.

He said: "I welcome the increase because anything to restrict smoking must be a health benefit and is a sign our culture is changing for the better.

I don't think the age should be put up to 18 because you are an adult at 16 so you should have the choice
Geraldine Paolozzi
17-year-old smoker

"Also having a common age for fireworks, alcohol and tobacco means it is easier for shops to enforce.

"However, unless the new age limit law is adequately enforced, it is meaningless. It is up to the authorities to enforce the law.

"Shopkeepers should also push for ID. There maybe problems with this in the short-term from people who used to be able to buy tobacco but this should be short lived."

Ann Marie Low, 17, a college caterer from Edinburgh, who has been smoking since she was 10 will not be able to buy cigarettes when the law is implemented in October.

She said: "I will have to get someone else to get them for me, which will be harder for me."

Cut down habit

Geraldine Paolozzi, 17, from Edinburgh who started smoking at 14, said young smokers would be forced to cut down their habit because it would be harder to obtain tobacco.

She said: "I don't think the age should be put up to 18 because you are an adult at 16 so you should have the choice."

Fred Milne, 19, who is a non-smoker from Edinburgh said: "I think it is an excellent move by the government. It will stop younger kids starting to smoke."

Dr Dermot Gorman, NHS Lothian's interim associate director of public health medicine, said: "Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of ill health and premature death and we welcome moves which will deter people, and particularly young people from smoking.

"It is hoped that this initiative and other legislation supported by NHS smoking cessation services will prevent people from smoking and encourage those who already smoke to give up."


SEE ALSO
Cigarette buying age to increase
05 Jun 07 |  Scotland
Executive 'to raise smoking age'
23 Nov 06 |  Scotland

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