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The smoking trap

This year the Government will make the sale of tobacco to under-18s illegal.

By making it less accessible it is thought that this will reduce teenage smoking and have a long-term benefit on the incidence of cancer and heart disease.

This all sounds both logical and laudable, but the risk is that making it harder for teens to smoke increases the cache and coolness of smoking.

Already the Exchequer loses millions from illegal tobacco imports and we do not want this market to move from pubs to schools and youth clubs.

Tackling the demand not the supply is worthy of further consideration but in a bespoke teenage way.

Moving the emphasis from future heart disease and cancer to current bad breath, stained teeth and prematurely ageing skin might be more meaningful and effective to this age group.

Up to a third of 14-year-old girls are smokers and yet older smoking teenagers wish they had never started. Could this be a job for the psychologists, rather than the politicians?

Dr John Havard, Saxmundham, Suffolk

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