Taking action on smoking and health
Smoking is closely linked with health inequalities. The harm caused by tobacco is a major factor in the life expectancy gap between those living in the most and least disadvantaged areas, and the financial costs place a huge burden on those who are least able to bear it.
Crucially, smoking is generally not a matter of lifestyle choice and is more often a response to social and economic circumstances. Smoking rates in the most deprived communities are four times higher than in the richest. Almost half of adults who are permanently sick or disabled, or who are unemployed and seeking work, smoke tobacco. Smoking rates are particularly high amongst people with mental health issues, the prison population and children in care.
In every one of these groups most of those who smokesay that they want to stop, so we need to consider smoking as a social justice issue and not as a consumer choice.
ASH Scotland has produced a view point paper detailing why tackling smoking is so cost effective and identifying the impact of successful tobacco control on health and financial inequalities.
Our recent blog sets out how the costs of smoking fall largely on reluctant smokers in disadvantaged communities.
We have produced a review of how smoking affects personal finances. To reduce the financial impact of smoking, ASH Scotland has worked with money advice services to produce a suite of resources to help anyone providing debt or financial advice to raise the issue of smoking in a constructive, non-judgemental way. These materials, along with information and support, are available free and our costs of smoking page gives full information.
The page also introduces our “smoking and poverty” collaboration with the Poverty Alliance, exploring how we can encourage and support better partnership working between health interests and anti-poverty campaigns.
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.