Scotland politics

Holyrood backs ban on sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s

e-cigarette Image copyright PA
Image caption Currently there is no age restriction on the purchase of e-cigarettes

Legislation restricting the sale of e-cigarettes in Scotland has been passed by MSPs at Holyrood.

The Scottish government's Health Bill bans under-18s from buying the devices and limits their advertising.

The wide-ranging legislation also strengthens the ban on smoking tobacco in NHS hospital grounds.

And it will create specific criminal offences for health and social care workers found to be deliberately mistreating those in their care.

The legislation will also;

  • require health and social care organisations to be open when a patient has suffered unintended harm during treatment or care, through a statutory duty of candour
  • and require the NHS to provide equipment and support to people who lose their voices as a result of health conditions such as MND (Motor Neurone Disease).
Image caption Ministers amended the bill after lobbying from MND campaigners including Gordon Aikman

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said almost all of the experts who gave evidence to the parliament's health committee said the bill was necessary.

Ms Watt believed the legislation was a "milestone" and would help people in Scotland live longer, healthier lives.

She argued that while she did not want to stigmatise people who used e-cigarettes, the government was committed to preventing under-18s from accessing them.

Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume said he supported more research into the health affects of e-cigarettes.

He added that they should be available for those who wanted to stop smoking and not used to "encourage people to start".

Tobacco smoking in the grounds of Scottish hospitals was banned by health boards at the request of the Scottish government last year but the new bill will now make it a statutory offence.

Ms Watt insisted that move was "common sense".

She added: "Hospitals are places people go to recover from illness, and they shouldn't have to walk through clouds of smoke."

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