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E-cigarette crackdown plans welcome

The sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18 could be banned and domestic advertising opportunities restricted.

ecigaretteThese are among key proposals published by the Scottish government last week.

Smoking could be banned in cars carrying children, and around children’s outdoor play parks, under the wide-ranging consultation on tobacco control.

The Scottish government is also asking whether there should be a statutory obligation for hospital grounds to be smoke-free. Health boards have been asked to do this by April 2015, but only on a voluntary basis.

The BMA will respond to the detail of the proposals, but has broadly welcomed the measures outlined in the consultation document.

Research needed

BMA Scotland council member Andrew Thomson said: ‘Electronic cigarettes have become increasingly popular since [the] mid-2000s, yet further research is needed to learn more about [their] long-term effects and uncover whether they are an effective and safe way of reducing tobacco harm. 

‘Tighter controls are needed to ensure their use does not undermine current tobacco-control measures and reinforces the normalcy of smoking behaviour.

'It is vital that the sale of e-cigarettes is appropriately regulated to ensure they are not sold to minors, and are not aggressively marketed to young people as tobacco was in the past.’

Public health minister Michael Matheson said the consultation was the first step towards their proper regulation of in Scotland. 

He said: ‘We will carefully consider the responses and decide what are the most appropriate next steps.

‘It is very important we consider the restrictions on all forms of advertising on e-cigarettes, which I know is a concern to many.’

Passive-smoking target

The Scottish government has set a target of halving the number of children exposed to second-hand smoke by 2020. 

This year, it launched Take it Right Outside — a campaign urging people not to smoke near children.

Mr Matheson added: ‘We are actively looking at whether there is any further legislation that could help us to achieve this target.'

Health departments across the UK have agreed to consult on regulations for cross-border advertising of e-cigarettes, including TV, radio and internet.

 Read the consultation

The story so far