Graeme Dey, the MSP for Angus South, is encouraging local school pupils to enter the ‘Create a Campaign’ competition which is being run by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).
Startling figures indicate that smoking and related illnesses take an average of 10 years off a person’s life. Some 567 children start smoking in the UK every day and statistics shows those who started as children will find it most challenging to quit.
The TSI believes that early intervention to avoid the detriment caused by under-age sales of tobacco products does work.
It is therefore asking young people aged 12 to 15 to educate their peers and business about why the law on under-age sales is so important.
Participants are asked to work in teams to design a campaign aimed at their peers, teaching them the risks associated with underage sales, and to target local businesses and encourage them to comply with their legal obligation.
The two winning teams will receive £1,000 for their school and there is the possibility that their campaign will be rolled out in their local authority or used as a blueprint throughout the UK.
After attending the launch of the competition in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Dey commented: “Age restrictions on the sale of tobacco and alcohol products are in place for a good reason and I applaud the work being done by the Trading Standards Institute to try to ensure that retailers and young people abide by these.
“The tasks will require the pupils to put a great deal of thought into their campaigns, particularly with regard to how best to convey this important message to their peers.
“I would encourage pupils from the secondary schools in Kirriemuir, Arbroath, Carnoustie and Monifieth to enter and will be writing out to the relevant schools passing on details of the competition.”