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Last Updated: Monday, 7 January 2008, 17:13 GMT
Smoking age 'should rise to 21'
Dr Vaidya also wants the tax on cigarettes to rise
A Dundee cancer specialist is calling for the age at which people can buy cigarettes to be raised to 21.

Dr Jayant Vaidya, from Ninewells Hospital and the University of Dundee, believes that after that age far fewer people want to start smoking.

In October, selling tobacco to under 18s was made illegal, but Dr Vaidya believes the law should be tougher.

He also wants a ban on selling cigarettes from vending machines and an increased tax on packets.

'Very addictive'

Dr Vaidya told the BBC Scotland news website: "Most people start smoking before they are 21, and after they are 21 they are wise enough to realise that it's not in their interest to smoke.

"It is a very addictive drug, it contains 4,000 poisons and it has been shown very clearly that when you start young, you start causing all the damage in your body at a young age as well, and it's very difficult to stop."

Dr Vaidya said that in Goa in India, where he was born, raising the smoking age to 21 has led to a considerable drop in the number of tobacco-related diseases.

He has also praised the ban on smoking in public places in Scotland, for making the air cleaner and improving health.

He said raising the age at which youngsters can buy cigarettes is the next step.

"Children, before they are proper grown-ups at 21, have the right to be protected from the onslaught of the tobacco industry," he said.

Tobacco licensing plan outlined
19 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Cigarette buying age raised to 18
30 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Concern over tobacco restrictions
12 Sep 07 |  Scotland

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