Fewer Scots are choosing to smoke – but the costs of the habit remain high

Fewer Scots are smoking cigarettes but the health costs remain high
Fewer Scots are smoking cigarettes but the health costs remain high
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National No Smoking Day passed last week with the now routine announcements from health chiefs welcoming the fact that fewer adults are choosing to light up.

But the costs of the habit remain high and ensure that neither the Westminster or Holyrood governments will be declaring victory in their battle to stub it out.

Smoking remains the primary ­preventable cause of ill-health, ­disability and premature death in Scotland.

Each year tobacco use is associated with around 128,000 hospital admissions and more than 10,000 smoking-attributable deaths north of the border.

The average smoker in Scotland spends £1,500 each year on tobacco – and significantly more people in our poorest communities spend at this level compared to our most affluent.

Prevalence rates in Scotland have fallen from around 28 per cent in 2003 to just under 21 per cent in 2015. Among 13-year-olds and 15-year-olds, smoking rates have fallen steadily to their lowest ever levels – two per cent and seven per cent respectively.

“We’ve had ten years of decisive action which has undoubtedly improved our nation’s health – but there is still more to be done,” said public health minister Aileen Campbell. “As a result of our Take it Right Outside campaigns, reported exposure to second-hand smoke in the home among children under 16 has halved between 2013 and 2015 from over 11 per cent to six per cent.

“In December 2016 it became ­illegal to smoke in cars where children are present – and later this year, we will restrict the sale and availability of e-cigarettes to under-18s and introduce an offence for smoking near hospital buildings.

“We believe that by working together, and with the public’s ­support, we can achieve our goal of creating a tobacco-free generation by 2034.”

Data published this month by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 17.2 per cent of adults across the UK smoked in 2015 – the lowest level since records began in 1974.

Figures from 2015 also showed the highest level of so-called quitters in more than four decades.