1 Sep 2008

LEGISLATION banning under-18s buying cigarettes is timely and welcome said Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley.

The Commissioner said the decision to outlaw the purchase of cigarettes and other tobacco products by children showed the Government was prepared to take appropriate steps to protect young people from the dangers of addiction.

“Children and young people tell me they want protection and information on risk-taking behaviour,” said Ms Lewsley. “Cigarettes are highly addictive and cause great damage to health from the day the first cigarette is taken. 

“I know from Government surveys and from personal experience of colleagues that most adult smokers started in their teens. I hope this measure will serve to reduce the number of children starting the habit.”

The Commissioner also welcomed Government plans to review cigarette advertising, and had a message for any teenagers who have already started smoking. 

“Help is available from many places, such as your doctor or pharmacist, please make an effort to quit now and make a start on a healthy future.”