VETERAN broadcaster Archie MacPherson has lent his support to a “children’s charter” to highlight the goal of creating a tobacco-free generation in Scotland within two decades.
The 80-year-old football commentator, who himself underwent surgery to remove a tumour that saw him lose one kidney and part of another in 2013, has joined with charity Ash Scotland in its ambition for Scotland to achieve an adult smoking rate of 5 per cent or less by 2034.
“I know first-hand how vital it is that we do all we can.”Archie MacPherson
MacPherson, a non-smoker, previously revealed how when he was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer doctors told him that is was almost certainly due to passive smoking.
He said: “As a teenager, I witnessed many of my friends succumbing to the commercial inducements to smoke cigarettes. I never did. Although one has never touched my lips I fell victim to the toxic effect of second-hand smoke, which required major surgery at great cost to the NHS.
“Being in smoke-filled press boxes and offices exposed me to passive smoking so I know first-hand how vital it is that we do all we can to ensure people of all ages are protected from this kind of risk in future.”
Ash Scotland has said its document, the Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation, is aimed at organisations working directly or indirectly with young people
Chief executive Sheila Duffy is urging organisations to sign up to the charter’s six principles: “The charter is a way of driving forward Scotland’s compelling vision to free our children from the tobacco epidemic that has claimed so many lives and led to so much misery.
“It’s important people realise tobacco use is primarily an addiction of childhood, with two-thirds of smokers saying they took up the habit when they were underage.
“The charter principles set out the rights of children in relation to tobacco for the first time, to be protected from cynical tobacco marketing, from exposure to toxic second-hand smoke and from getting hooked into a lethal addiction as children.”
The six stated key principles are: Every baby should be born free from the harmful effects of tobacco; children have a particular need for a smoke-free environment; all children should play, learn and socialise in places that are free from tobacco; every child has the right to effective education that equips them to make informed positive choices on tobacco and health; all young people should be protected from commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers; and any young person who smokes should be offered accessible support to help them to become tobacco-free.
Macpherson, who lives in Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, has previously said his cancer was “the sleekit kind”, showing no obvious outward symptoms.
He said: “As I am fond of a dram or two I had indeed spent many pleasant hours in howffs around the world with people around me creating the conditions of Auld Reekie at its worst.”
The pundit also described working in press boxes and newsrooms as having “the sulphuric stench of Hades”, adding that he had been unaware of the dangers of passive smoking.
Last month plans to change the law to ban smoking in cars when children are on board won the support of public health minister Maureen Watt - the proposals could see people fined £100 if they are caught lighting up in a vehicle when under-18s are present.
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