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5 May 2015, 14:29
A ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to under-18s will be included in new legislation proposed by the Scottish Government.
Public health minister Maureen Watt said the measure will be taken forward in the forthcoming Health Bill following a consultation.
The Bill, to be introduced later this year, will make it an offence for an adult to buy e-cigarettes for anyone under 18 and will require retailers to be registered.
It will also seek to make smoking in the vicinity of hospital buildings a statutory offence.
The measures were welcomed by anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland.
Chief executive Sheila Duffy said: "Although e-cigarettes are likely to be far safer than smoked tobacco, there are still some unknowns and risks including the risk of addiction.
"Regulations to protect children from companies who will be looking to target them as future consumers are welcome.
"I'd like to see this legislation walk the tightrope of protecting our children from commercial companies selling recreational nicotine while at the same time facilitating adult smokers to be free from tobacco."
She added: "Supporting NHS boards by making it an offence to smoke near hospital buildings should help to make entrances smoke-free.
"This is about changing attitudes to tobacco and recognising just how many of those currently receiving NHS treatment have had their lives damaged by cigarettes."
Ms Watt said: "This government is not opposed to e-cigarettes but we think it is right to protect children from nicotine addiction, and to limit the prevalence of smoking behaviours. Through this Bill, we will seek to strike that balance.
"We have long thought that it is wrong for people to have to walk through clouds of smoke when visiting hospitals.
"Following our consultation, and to support NHS boards, we believe the time is right to make it a statutory offence to smoke near health buildings."
The Bill will also place a duty on health and social care organisations to be open and honest when an incident involving physical or psychological harm has occurred.
It will create a criminal offence to protect people from deliberate neglect or ill-treatment in the health and social care system.