Taking action on smoking and health
A new national survey shows that smoking rates are static since 2013, despite a world-leading government target to make Scotland tobacco-free by 2034. In response health campaigners have listed five ways to get Scotland’s target back on track.
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of health charity ASH Scotland, has warned that unless action is taken Scotland will fall behind:
“It's tempting to imagine that smoking is on its way out with no action needed. Today's disappointing figures show how wrong that idea is. With a new government tobacco strategy coming up next year, we must redouble our efforts and also start to look at smoking in a whole new light.
“In particular, we have to look at smoking in the poorest areas of Scotland. People in the most deprived fifth of the country are more than three times as likely to smoke as those in the richest fifth – even though they’re just as likely to want to quit. That isn’t fair. We need targeted help and support for the people who need it the most.
“There are lots of other things we can do. Advertising campaigns are highly successful and can reach lots of people. Working with the NHS, money advice services and other organisations to offer more support to quit more often can work wonders. And specialist help should mean reaching everyone in society. When more than a third of tobacco is smoked by people with mental health conditions, it’s clear there’s more work to do.
“This isn’t about forcing people to quit. More than two thirds of smokers consistently say that they want to give up, so we need to find new ways to encourage and support quit attempts. If we want to kick the habit as a nation, we need to up our game.”
The latest Scottish Health Survey data shows 21% of adults smoked in 2016. That’s the same as the 21% recorded in 2015 and 2013, meaning there hasn’t been a fall in smoking for three years. The Scottish Government’s data suggest that 17% or fewer Scots would need to have been smokers last year to meet the 2034 goal.
Here are five things the Government should do to get us back on track:
For further information please contact ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Out of hours mobile 07776 142 299.
Notes for Editors
The Scottish Health Survey 2016 data is available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Health/scottish-health-survey
1 If you’d like smoking data for a local area, contact ASH Scotland. Data provided by the Scottish Government via statistics.gov.scot.
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.