Buying children cigarettes 'not a favour', says charity

Smoking Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption On average, 36 young people in Scotland take up smoking every day

Adults who buy children cigarettes could set them up for a life of health and financial problems, the children's health charity Fast Forward has said.

Its chief executive Alastair MacKinnon said some adults think they are "doing young people a favour" when buying them tobacco.

The charity has launched a new campaign against proxy purchasing.

On average, 36 young people in Scotland take up smoking every day, according to Ash Scotland.

Mr MacKinnon has pledged to support Scotland's Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation - six principles laid down by Ash towards a smoke free nation.

The Scottish government aims to have a "smoke-free generation" in Scotland by 2034.

The number of young people smoking in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level since surveys began, after measures such as banning tobacco advertising, price increases and raising the age of purchasing cigarettes to 18.

Brand awareness

A government report stated there had been a reduction in cigarette brand awareness in young people, which was attributed to products being moved from view.

Mr MacKinnon said: "Some adults think that they're doing young people a favour when they buy them tobacco - particularly if it happened for them when they were at school. But it's not a victimless crime.

"We know from talking to teachers that in schools where smoking rates are high in the local community, cigarettes are sold to younger children by teen smokers in order to maintain their own smoking.

"Adults willing to buy tobacco for young people are really just carrying out the work of Big Tobacco. They're leading young people into addiction, long-term health problems and huge financial cost. It has to stop."

Ash Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy added: "The tobacco industry uses every trick in the book to snare new young people into becoming smokers, with the result that 36 children start smoking every day in Scotland. We mustn't do their job for them."

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