The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency rightly claims that there is no hard evidence that plain packaging will trigger an increase in the illicit trade in tobacco (your report, 10 July).
That this represents a “smuggler’s charter”, as your headline suggests, is also a well-worn yet unfounded response by the tobacco industry. Enforcement officers use hidden markings that are hard to copy to check whether packs are illicit.
The Scottish Government and its partner agencies should be commended for the steps they have taken towards dealing with the illicit trade of tobacco through effective enforcement.
Recent Scottish Government legislation means that those who sell tobacco without being registered can be hit with up to a £20,000 fine and a six month prison sentence if caught. This should be a powerful deterrent.
Tobacco is the greatest single cause of ill health and preventable early death in Scotland and any effective measure to reduce its use is a lifesaver.
The introduction of plain packaging for a lethal and addictive product should be seen as a measure to protect the health of our nation and to protect Scotland’s children from an industry which puts profit over people.
The joint consultation by the UK and Scottish Governments has been extended until 10 August to give people a chance to have their say on plain packaging. So far more than 100,000 people in the UK have shown their support.
I encourage anyone interested in looking after the health of the nation to do the same.
Action on Smoking and Health Scotland
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