Taking action on smoking and health
Alastair MacKinnon, Chief Executive of children’s health education charity Fast Forward, is calling on adults to stop giving tobacco to Scotland’s children.
Many adults still buy tobacco for children, thinking that they’re “doing them a favour”. In fact, all they’re doing is setting young children up for a lifetime of addiction, expense and poor health, while lining the pockets of the tobacco industry.
Alastair has signed up as a Champion for Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation – a set of six principles to help the next generation grow up without the health problems and financial costs caused by smoking. Alastair will champion principle 5:
“all young people should be protected from commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers”
The Charter has been produced by health campaign ASH Scotland, and has now been signed by over 180 organisations, each pledging to do what they can to help bring about a tobacco-free generation.
Principle 5 is supported by ASH Scotland’s #notafavour campaign, which aims to shed light on the problems caused by so called “proxy purchasing”, where children give adults money to buy tobacco on their behalf.
Alastair MacKinnon said:
“Some adults think that they’re doing young people a favour when they buy them tobacco – particularly if it happened for them when they were at school. But it’s not a victimless crime.
“We know from talking to teachers that in schools where smoking rates are high in the local community, cigarettes are sold to younger children by teen smokers in order to maintain their own smoking. Tobacco given to a young friend or relative finds its way to new child smokers and that is what keeps the tobacco industry in business.
“Adults willing to buy tobacco for young people are really just carrying out the work of Big Tobacco. They’re leading young people into addiction, long-term health problems and huge financial cost. It has to stop.”
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said:
“The tobacco industry uses every trick in the book to snare new young people into becoming smokers, with the result that 36 children start smoking every day in Scotland. We mustn’t do their job for them.
“Two thirds of adult smokers want to quit, and the vast majority started young. Smoking is an incredibly harmful addiction and still Scotland’s leading cause of death. The vast majority of adults know it’s wrong to buy tobacco for young people and don’t do it. We’re committed to getting the message out.”
See Alastair MacKinnon interviewed by ASH Scotland about his support for Principle 5 of Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation (All young people should be protected from the commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers) at:
For further information please contact ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or firstname.lastname@example.org (out of hours mobile 07776 142 299). Or contact Fast Forward on 0131 554 4300 or email@example.com
Sheila Duffy will be available for interview from 1PM-3PM on Monday 29 January, while Alastair MacKinnon will be available throughout the afternoon.
Notes for Editors
The Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation is an initiative by health charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) Scotland to help deliver a tobacco-free generation by 2034 (by this we mean less than 5% of the population still smokes). The Charter inspires organisations to take action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in their communities.
Further information can be found at www.ashscotland.org.uk/charter.
ASH Scotland Fast Fact Sheet Young People & Tobacco: http://www.ashscotland.org.uk/media/5862/5youngpeople.pdf
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is an independent Scottish charity working in partnership to protect people from the harm caused by tobacco. Registered Scottish charity number SC 010412.
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.