Scottish retailers have reacted angrily to proposals to change the rules and allow young test purchasers to lie about their age and actively encourage shop assistants to sell them tobacco.

They say proposals to relax Trading Standards guidelines put forward by Dr Richard Simpson, a health spokesman for Labour at the Scottish Parliament, are a step too far for independent retailers, and that any efforts to stamp out young people smoking should be directed in other areas.

Jim Maitland, chairman of the Scottish National Federation of Retail Newsagents Legal and Parliamentary Committee, said: "The morality of using children to deliberately lie in what is, frankly, an act of entrapment must be brought into question.

"If any changes are to be made it should be to make proxy purchasing and the purchase or possession of tobacco by someone under the legal age a crime," he added.