FACTS NOT FICTION
Scottish Ministers and senior civil servants disregard the facts but are happy to make decisions that will put 60 Scottish citizens out of work and close 15 companies.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison and her Scottish Government officials have argued that:
“Given the very serious health risks associated with smoking, this is clearly unsatisfactory and we concluded that it is unacceptable for such a dangerous age-restricted product to be sold from a self-service machine.”
Health and Sport Committee convener Christine Grahame told The Scotsman:
"Most members also believe that cigarette vending machines should be banned, bringing them into line with other age-restricted products like alcohol."
Alcohol, lighters and aspirin are all legally vended through machines across Scotland. These products can pose significant health risks yet the Government is singling out tobacco vending machines and wants to ban them under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill. As a consequence, 60 people in Scotland will lose their job and 15 companies will close down.
Cigarette vending machines account for just 0.8% of cigarette sales in Scotland. Banning them will have next to no effect on the issue of underage smoking.
The National Association of Cigarette Vending Machine Operators has invested in a new system to stop under 18s buying tobacco from our machines – anyone wanting to use our machines will have to prove their age and only then will they be allowed to a single purchase activated by a Radio Frequency Control system. This will stop young people accessing tobacco products and avoid losing jobs in Scotland.
Scottish Ministers have not considered this solution fairly and refused to even see it in action. MSPs are being asked to vote without knowing all the options.
THAT'S FACT, NOT FICTION
Sep 22, 2009 – Exposure of blatant misleading evidence by Health and Sports Minister Shona Robison MSP will be distributed outside the Scottish Parliament prior to the Stage 1 debate on the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill.
“Documentation(1) produced by NACMO (The National Association of Cigarette Vending Machine Operators) clearly illustrates how the Scottish Government has been provided with fiction,” states Eddie Douthwaite from pro-choice group Freedom To Choose (Scotland). “The quality of their evidence and decision-making must be put into question.”
Public Health Minister Shona Robison provided the misleading statement(2) to the Health and Sports Committee evidence sessions stating, “For me, the fundamental question is whether tobacco is an appropriate product to sell in a vending machine. We would not sell other age-related dangerous products in vending machines, so why do we sell cigarettes in that way?”
This statement was also endorsed by committee convener MSP Christine Grahame who claimed(3), “Most members also believe that cigarette vending machines should be banned, bringing them into line with other age-restricted products like alcohol.”
Despite the claims of Shona Robison, other age-restricted products are not banned from vending machines - as NACMO correctly points out, “alcohol, lighters and aspirin are all legally vended through machines across Scotland. These products can pose significant health risks yet the Government is singling out tobacco vending machines.”
In addition to forcing shops to conceal tobacco displays from public view, the Tobacco and Primary Services Medical Bill proposes to ban the use of tobacco vending machines, immediately closing 15 businesses and putting 60 people out of work. NACMO have since invested in a Radio Frequency Control System for their vending machines that would prevent young people accessing tobacco products and avoid the loss of these jobs.
MSPs must be made aware of these facts before the Stage 1 debate takes place on Thursday 24 September.
Notes to editors:
1 http://www.snapdrive.net/files/492358/Documents%20and%20 ...
2 http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/hs/repor ...
3 http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/MSPs--commit ...
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