Cigarettes in plain packaging for Scots

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CIGARETTES and other tobacco products should be sold in plain packaging, the Scottish Government has said.

The pledge makes Scotland the first part of the UK to officially support standardised packaging, following a consultation which began last year.

Scottish Public Health Minister Michael Matheson announced the move in a new strategy to help stop people smoking.

He also set a target to reduce the number of smokers in Scotland from 23 per cent to five per cent by 2034.

Earlier this week the devolved administration committed to making all NHS grounds smoke-free by 2015.

Mr Matheson said: “We’ve already seen the huge health benefits that followed the ban on smoking in public places. This Government is determined to build on this success, improving health and reducing health inequalities by reducing the number of people smoking.

“Our vision of a tobacco-free generation is about reaping the health, social and economic benefits that a significant reduction in smoking would bring. It would be an achievement of which we could all be proud.

“That’s why strong and decisive action, like standardised packaging and increased education, are the right steps to prevent young people from taking up smoking.”

Last April the UK Government launched a consultation on introducing mandatory standardised packaging for tobacco products.

Health campaigners welcomed the proposal but opponents claimed it would lead to increased smuggling and job losses.

Information generated by the consultation, which closed in August, is still being analysed by health officials.

In December, Australia became the first country in the world to put all tobacco products in standardised packs.

The Scottish Government said it will wait for the UK Government and other devolved administrations to respond to the consultation on standardised packaging before deciding on appropriate legislation.