Taking action on smoking and health
This week Scottish Government published the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2018 which shows that smoking prevalence rates amongst 13 and 15 year olds have flatlined since 2015. In their Tobacco Action Control Plan 2018, Scottish Government set a target for the proportion of reported regular smokers among 13-15 year olds combined to be 3% or less by 2022 and today’s figures suggest that this target may be missed.
Commenting on the youth smoking prevalence figures in SALSUS, ASH Scotland Chief Executive Sheila Duffy said:
“It’s disappointing that the youth smoking rate has stopped falling across Scotland and that 12% of 15 year olds and 4% of 13 year olds are smoking either regularly or occasionally. This mirrors what we saw in the adult smoking figures from the Scottish Health Survey 2018 – where the smoking rate has hovered around 18% since 2017– and suggests that the impacts of tobacco reduction policies have stalled.
“Smoking remains the single biggest cause of death in Scotland – killing more than 9000 Scots annually – and these figures show that not enough progress is being made towards achieving our goal of a tobacco-free generation by 2034. That’s why we’re calling for tobacco to be prioritised as the major public health epidemic that it is, and for urgent action to tackle it.
“As part of this, we’re calling on Scottish Government to collect and publish yearly statistics about youth smoking and vaping rates so changes can be detected and action taken at the earliest possible opportunity. The SALSUS survey used to be published biennially but there has been a three year gap in the data. It’s unclear how long we’ll have to wait for this data in future to find out if there has been a change in youth habits and behaviour which isn’t good enough if we want to protect young people from becoming addicted to health-harming products.”
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.