Taking action on smoking and health
ASH Scotland along with 9 other leading health charities in Scotland are urging the Scottish Government to act on commitments to tackle the use of tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food and drink, claiming work has stalled during the pandemic.
The ten organisations have joined forces to campaign for action on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, liver disease and lung disease – which are responsible for more than half of all deaths in Scotland – around 40,000 every year.
British Heart Foundation Scotland’s analysis of National Records of Scotland statistics suggests that each year around 7,800 of these deaths could be prevented through public health interventions to reduce consumption of health harming products such as alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy food.
But commitments by the Scottish Government on all three of these issues have been paused during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today (Monday 6th September), as a global week of action on NCDs begins, a virtual event is being held in the Scottish Parliament, organised by the campaign group and attended by MSPs from all political parties, to call on the Scottish Government to take action now on its delayed commitments.
Alison Douglas from Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “Health harming products, such as alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy food and drinks are major contributors to death and ill health across Scotland. The Scottish Government has made welcome commitments to tackling the burden caused by these products, but these promises must now be fulfilled. Only last month, official figures from National Records of Scotland revealed deaths from alcohol in 2020 were at their highest level since 2008. We must act now to save and improve lives across the country and relieve pressure on our NHS.”
The charities have set out a series of recommendations which they believe should be in place by the end of the parliamentary year in June 2022.
· calls to bring forward a bill to ban multi-buy offers on junk food
· to review and increase the minimum unit price for alcohol to at least 65p per unit
· and consult on regulations on the domestic advertising of e-cigarettes
David McColgan, from BHF Scotland, said: “We must do more to help people across Scotland live longer, healthier lives. Non-communicable diseases do not just cause tens of thousands of deaths in Scotland each year, they also affect quality of life and contribute to health inequalities. People in our least deprived communities can expect to have around 20 years more healthy life than those in our most deprived.
“In this global week of action, we want our politicians to commit to bold action. We need to empower people by making the healthy choice, the easier choice. Whether that is increasing services that support people to improve their health or taking steps around the availability,
marketing, pricing and promotion of tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food and drink. We must all work together to tackle Scotland’s biggest killers.”
The 10 charities involved in the campaign are Alcohol Focus Scotland, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland, Cancer Research UK, ASH Scotland, Obesity Action Scotland, SHAAP, Stroke Association and Diabetes Scotland.
Notes to editor
The report Non-Communicable Disease Prevention: Priorities for 2021/22 is attached can be found here
For interviews or comments please contact Sheila Duffy, CEO@ashscotland.org.uk or call 0777 335 1878
The report has been endorsed by a further 15 organisations
- Alcohol Health Alliance
- BMA Scotland
- British Liver Trust
- Chest Hear and Stroke Scotland
- Elisabeth Smart – Chair of the Special Interest Group for Alcohol, Public Health Scotland
- Faculty of Public Health
- Faculty of Public Health Alcohol Special Interest Group
- Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- The Scottish Cancer Coalition
- Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol And Drugs
- Scottish Recovery Consortium
- SHARP Scottish Heart and Arterial disease Risk Prevention
- We Are With You
- Voluntary Health Scotland
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.