Date Published: 8 April 2009

BMA Scotland urges politicians to be bold on tobacco control

Health News from the United Kingdom (UK).

BMA Scotland today (Wednesday 8 April) called on MSPs to support measures to crack down on tobacco promotions and not to be swayed by the ‘scaremongering’ tactics of the tobacco industry and retailers. The calls came as the BMA submitted its evidence on the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill.

Dr Peter Terry, Chairman of BMA Scotland said:

The Tobacco Retailers Alliance has warned that supporting measures to restrict the promotion of tobacco products could cost MSPs their seats. It is claimed that ‘curbing tobacco promotion would destroy the biggest source of profits in corner shops.

But before politicians make decisions based on these spurious claims, they must consider the motives. The fears expressed by retailers simply reinforce our argument that point of sale displays are a form of advertising. It would seem that the industry – both retailers and tobacco producers – are primarily worried about how they can continue to attract people to buy these deadly products simply to protect their profits.

Doctors have no such agenda. What drives our activities is a desire to improve the public health and reduce children’s exposure to the influential marketing activities of the tobacco industry via retailers."

With reports that one in ten regular smokers aged 13 and 15 buy tobacco from vending machines, BMA Scotland has also welcomed proposals to ban tobacco vending machines. Dr Terry said:

If shopkeepers are adhering to the law, vending machines are the only possible way for children to obtain tobacco illegally and therefore we welcome the Scottish government’s tough stance on this.

I hope that Scotland’s politicians have the courage and the confidence to take steps to protect the health of our children. It is now their job to put health before the interests of an industry that profits from sales of addictive and deadly substances.”

With regard to proposals in the Bill to close the ‘legal loophole’ which allows private companies to provide NHS General Practice services, Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of BMA Scotland’s GP committee said:

The measures proposed in this Bill seek to protect NHS general practice and are very welcome. General Practice, delivered under the auspices of the NHS will ensure that patient care comes before profit and patients can be assured of continuity of care.


Source: British Medical Association.

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