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Illegal tobacco sales crackdown

25 February 09 00:21 GMT

A drive to cut down on illegal cigarette sales and under-age smoking has been launched in Scotland.

Holyrood ministers have teamed up with customs and trading standards officers to step up the enforcement of tobacco sales law.

The campaign also aims to clamp down on the sale of smuggled or fake cigarettes on street corners.

The Scottish Government is about to unveil proposed new laws to further strengthen anti-smoking measures.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said of the crackdown: "This two-pronged attack will see more rigorous enforcement of existing tobacco laws, with trading standards officers using every tool at their disposal - including test purchasing - to ensure retailers aren't selling cigarettes to under-18s.

"With more than a quarter of retailers willing to sell cigarettes to under-18s, it's clearly an area that must be addressed."

Scottish ministers are shortly expected to publish their Health Bill, which will include a number of anti-smoking measures, such as removing cigarettes from open display in shops.

The government is aiming cut the number of young smokers to less than 23% by 2012, amid recent figures which showed the number of young people smoking in Scotland had returned to a level last seen almost 10 years ago.

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