Legal smoking age would rise to 21 in Scotland under SNP plans

The legal smoking age would be raised to 21 in Scotland under plans being considered by SNP ministers.

The existing age of 18 for buying cigarettes north of the Border has been in place since 2007.

But the Scottish Government has confirmed it is looking at raising the minimum threshold, just days after a cross-party group of MSPs recommended the UK should increase the legal smoking age.

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The Scottish Government is considering raising the legal smoking age to 21

Scotland has been a trendsetter, becoming the first part of the UK in 2006 to bank smoking in public places.

Ministers have set a target of 2034 to eliminate smoking altogether in Scotland.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Heath at Westminster has recommended raising the legal smoking age to 21.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We have committed to facilitating a conference later this year where the permissible smoking age will be among the issues discussed.

“We will continue to consider what more can be done to reach 16 to 24-year-olds more effectively, either through youth engagement or employment settings.”

Figures show 24 per cent of Scots aged from 25 to 34 smoked in 2017, falling to 17 per cent for the 16-24 age bracket.

Simon Clarke, director of smokers’ group Forest, told the Daily Mail: “If you are old enough to vote, drive a car and join the army at 18, you are old enough to make an informed decision to smoke.

“Smoking rates have been falling in all age groups for years.

“Raising the smoking age is gesture politics that will achieve very little apart from infantilising young adults.”