Scotland Looks to Go Smoke Free with Widespread Ban

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Some countries have hidden cigarette brand names from consumers with plain packaging. Some countries demand retailers hide the cigarettes away. Some countries have put nasty images on the packaging so consumers can see what could happen to them someday if they continue to smoke, and some are just starting over. But one country is just planning to get rid of the darn things altogether.

It’ll take a few years, of course, for Scotland to get all tobacco products out of its country, but the plan is to have them gone by 2034, according to the UK’s thecourier.co, so smokers might want to get their trips to Scotland over with sooner rather than later. The country has already banned smoking from public places and raised the age of purchase from 16 to 18; it now plans to ban smoking from the grounds of all hospitals and force retailers to sell smokes in plain packaging.[more]

The goal is actually to have less than 5 percent of the populace using tobacco products by that point and the plans to make that happen include “the controversial Quit4U initiative, where smokers in disadvantaged areas are given credit of £12.50 ($19) a week towards their groceries if they stay off cigarettes,” the Courier reports. 

Other tactics include investing in education of the young about the effects of smoking and creating a marketing campaign that focuses on why secondhand smoke is dangerous.

Meanwhile, researchers, including ones at the biggest tobacco companies, are keeping busy trying to create “alternative cigarettes that can reduce a smoker’s exposure to some of the most toxic compounds in tobacco and cigarette smoke,” in an effort to reduce the health costs associated with smoking, according to Time. British American Tobacco has created “prototypes of cigarettes that reduce exposure to some—but not all—toxicants in smoke.”

Pro-smoking group Forest was not happy with the Scotland news. “We support all reasonable measures, including education, that will discourage children from smoking. Plain packaging is unreasonable because there is no credible evidence that it will have any impact on youth smoking rates,” said the group’s director, Simon Clark, according to the BBC. “What next? Alcohol, fizzy drinks and fast food?” (Don’t give them any ideas, Simon.)

Image via DailyRecord.co.uk: A TV ad shown in Scotland depicts a tumor growing from a cigarette.

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