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Volume 229: debated on Friday 23 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prosecutions have been carried out in Scotland in each of the last five years in respect of the sale of cigarettes to minors; how many of these resulted in convictions; and if he will make a statement.

The information requested is not separately identifiable within the Scottish Office Home and Health Department's classification of crimes and offences.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action has been taken towards achieving the targets for reducing smoking prevalence among (a) adults and (b) children as outlined in the 1992 White Paper, "Scotland's Health—A Challenge To Us All"; and if he will make a statement.

Action to reduce smoking prevalence at United Kingdom level has included increases in tobacco duty; the tightening of the voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry on tobacco advertising; the requirement for stronger and more prominent labelling of tobacco products; and the implementation of the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991, strengthening the law against the sale of cigarettes to children.Additionally, within Scotland, action has been initiated on the range of measures identified in "Scotland's Health—A Challenge To Us All". In particular, the Health Education Board for Scotland launched a major new mass media initiative in the autumn of 1992. The campaign features a national freephone service providing smoking cessation advice and literature; and between October 1992 and 15 July 1993, over 170,000 calls had been received. The board is also developing a smoking strategy in consultation with relevant organisations. Within the NHS in Scotland, the target of achieving virtual smoke-free status by the end of May 1993 has been achieved.Smoking has been a major focus in the discussions the Chief Medical Officer has had with COSLA, the STUC, Scottish Homes and the Scottish Sports Council about the contribution those bodies can make to health promotion. I have also met employers' representatives in Scotland to discuss their role in promoting health in the workplace, including the importance of having in place clear policies on smoking.Recognising the importance of influencing children, the new national curriculum guidelines for the 5 to 14 age group which were issued in March 1993, include guidance on health education with smoking as a key feature.More recently we have published a popular version or "Scotland's Health—A Challenge To Us All" which highlights the need to reduce smoking and gives advice on how to achieve this. The document was issued widely to local authorities, schools, health boards, general practitioners, employers organisations, medical professions and voluntary organisations.