Scotland’s health community awaits a new Scottish Government strategy on tobacco and health, likely to include a long-term commitment to making Scotland “smoke-free” by reducing smoking rates to very low levels. We fully support the aim of tackling smoking rates and believe the ambitious targets can be achieved.
The damage caused by tobacco to individuals, families and communities is well known.
With most smokers starting before they are 18, and most wanting to quit, this target is effectively a reframing of existing public health goals: to remove tobacco’s appeal to children and to help smokers who want to quit.
Such a smoke-free target should not be contentious, but to be achievable it requires decisive actions.
With political will and commitment there is a range of approaches open to a government seeking to protect the next generation from the harms of an addictive substance peddled by an unscrupulous industry.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games provides an opportunity for positive, tobacco-free events and clean-air messages and role models. We can aim to protect those attending, and to set out a clear and healthy legacy for the next generation.
Australia has become the first nation to standardise tobacco packaging, ending the glamorous tobacco industry promotions that are designed to appeal to young people. We should move quickly to become the second.
Let us take forward the debate on smoking in cars. This summer, Ireland will present legislation to ban smoking in cars with children present, and Wales is running a campaign to raise public awareness. What will Scotland do?
Tobacco companies should be required to report on all their promotional activities and product changes, as they are by the Canadian government.
Licensing of alcohol sales provides a range of opportunities to regulate the supply of the product, rather than just focusing on the consumer. What benefits could be gained from the licensing of tobacco products?
We also need to continue investment in flexible support services, designed to help every smoker who wants to quit.
We aspire for a child born today to grow up into a society where smoking is not the norm, and which can be considered truly free from tobacco. That future promise requires committing to firm action today.
British Heart Foundation Scotland
(Dr) James Cant
British Lung Foundation Scotland and Ireland
(Dr) Charles Saunders
British Medical Association Scotland
Cancer Research UK
David H Clark
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
(Dr) Neil Dewhurst
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
(Dr) Peter Rice
Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland
When I picked my mother up from hospital today I saw half a dozen nurses smoking in the car park. What kind of example is this to set?
Comely Bank Road