Maree Todd hints at Scottish smoking ban
Public health minister Maree Todd has hinted at a New Zealand-style ban on the total sale of tobacco.
At Holyrood’s Health and Care Festival, the minister for public health reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling smoking, alcoholism and childhood obesity, and hinted at a possible smoking ban.
In response to a question from an audience member, who expressed concern the Scottish Government’s 2022/23 Programme for Government does not contain any commitments on tobacco, Todd said: “We cannot afford to ignore tobacco. Tobacco kills 9,000 people a year in Scotland, it is a huge cause of health inequalities.
“I am absolutely determined to look around the world and see who’s doing well, and New Zealand are a shining light.
“We’re very keen to look at what New Zealand is doing and pick up bold policy. We have this ambition for a smoke-free nation by 2034, and we know that we need to do more to meet that target.”
In December 2021, the New Zealand government announced that anyone born after 2008 will not be able to buy cigarettes or tobacco products in their lifetime.
The Scottish Government has also held a consultation on potential restrictions on e-cigarettes and vaping, which closed in April. Todd said: “I’m horrified to hear about children as young as 11 vaping. We have to strike a delicate balance between providing information on vaping as a potential method of cessation and protecting our children and young people from unnecessary harm.”
Todd added: “Vaping is concerning everyone, everyone is worried about the rise in vaping. We are seeing solid statistics coming through now that are showing that possibly up to 20 per cent of our young people are vaping, and people are vaping who have never smoked.
“And I personally am deeply cynical about the role of the tobacco industry in our perception of the safety and role of vaping, and I’m happy to call that out at any opportunity I have.”