Clause 39 - Repeal of offence of purchasing tobacco products by under 18s

Part of Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:45 am ar 14 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kirsten Oswald Kirsten Oswald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Women), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Equalities) 9:45, 14 Mai 2024

As we have heard, part 2 of the Bill relates specifically to Scotland and clauses 39 and 40 repeal particular offences. Clause 39 repeals an offence unique to Scotland—the purchasing of tobacco products by under-18s. That was introduced in 2010 and has been criticised for some time because of the unnecessary criminalisation of young people with a nicotine addiction. The change has been requested by the Scottish Government. Clause 40 repeals the power of the police to confiscate tobacco products from people who they suspect are under 18. Again, the power is unique to Scotland and it is seen as difficult to use. I therefore welcome these clauses as they stand.

It is correct to say that Scotland has been a world leader on a range of tobacco control measures, and there has been a steady reduction in the proportion of people smoking, but we know that far too many lives are still damaged and far too many people are still killed by tobacco. Obviously, we are aware of the huge burden on the NHS and social care services, and we know about the significant health inequalities that underlie much of that. Clauses 39 and 40 are sensible because they allow operations on the ground in Scotland to move forward in a more unified and logical manner. We welcome the new age regime and the greater power for Scottish Ministers to tackle youth smoking and vaping.