FOLLOWING reports that the UK Government is considering raising the legal smoking age to 21 in England, there have been several suggestions on how to disincentivise smoking across the UK.

Examples include a report that suggested smoking be banned in outdoor beer gardens, café pavements and beaches. Another proposal was to increase the age of sale from 18 by one year every year, until no-one can buy a tobacco product.

If implemented by 2026, this would mean anyone aged 14 and under now would never be able to buy a cigarette.

The proposals have come in a bid to tackle the habit which causes nearly one in five cancer cases and more than one in four cancer deaths each year in the UK.

However, laws regulating smoking are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, with Holyrood setting the trend back in 2006 with the smoking ban.

As such, discussions in Westminster will not affect Scotland.

With that in mind, here’s what the Scottish Government are planning for the future of Scottish smokers.

What should Scottish smokers expect?

While it is an offence in Scotland for a person under 18 to buy tobacco products and for a person to sell tobacco products to a person aged under 18, the Government plans to tighten restrictions on smoking.

As part of the Scottish Government’s tobacco action plan published in 2018, a strategy has been put in place to make Scotland smoke-free by 2034.

So far, measures undertaken include the adoption of a smoke-free policy on hospital ground, the banning of smoking in cars with children in 2016 and the 2018 ban on smoking in prisons.

Looking forward, the Government is also considering strategies undertaken by other countries, like New Zealand’s phased-out smoking ban. The Kiwi strategy is to ban anyone born after 2008 from buying tobacco products in their lifetime.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Our Programme for Government reaffirmed our commitment to developing a renewed tobacco control action plan. Our 2034 target aims to protect children born since 2013 from tobacco so that when they turn 21 they will be tobacco-free and will come of age in a Scotland that will remain tobacco-free for generations to come. 

“Stopping smoking is the best thing people can do to improve their health. While vaping is one tool for stopping smoking, they should not be used by non-smokers, in particular by children and young people. We recommend all those wishing to quit smoking to contact the helpline on 0800 84 84 84 to speak to an advisor who will discuss a range of successful therapies and interventions.”