As reported recently in the trade press, researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow have recommended a ban on sales of tobacco in stores close to schools.
The study, which was originally published in the journal Tobacco Control, suggests the move could help in preventing children from taking up smoking.
However, this measure to reduce availability would affect more than 70 per cent of over 9,000 shops that are registered to sell tobacco products in Scotland.
Researchers found that tobacco products are most often bought at local shops, and deprived areas have more licensed shops per head of population than wealthier areas in Scotland.
Scottish president Ferhan Ashiq expressed his concern over the study’s outcomes. He said: “Small stores are more common in impoverished areas, because supermarkets do not see it as profitable as local store owners. These poor neighbourhoods also have higher rates of smoking – two facts that are associated but not correlated.
“To make the leap that children walking past their local convenience store that sells tobacco are more likely to smoke is a classic example of conflating causation with correlation. Small shops are not the root cause of poverty or smoking.
“Nearly all stores rigorously enforce a Challenge 25 policy. If anything, cutting shop numbers would enhance poverty by taking away jobs from already marginalised communities.”