HEALTH: TOBACCO NO MORE BY 2034, SAYS SNP MINISTER

By Bill Heaney

Reducing the use of and harm caused by tobacco products is one of Scotland’s public health priorities, according to the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd. 

Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (SNP): had asked her to reveal the Scottish Government’s assessment is of the impact parental smoking has on child poverty.

She said: “Reducing the use of and harm caused by tobacco products is one of Scotland’s public health priorities.

“Given that smoking is more prevalent in our most deprived communities, where there is a greater risk to children and young people from exposure to second-hand smoke, we have set specific smoking cessation targets for our cessation services that are focused entirely on those communities.

“Eradicating child poverty is a national mission for the Government, and we will set out further action to deliver at the pace and scale required as part of our next tackling child poverty delivery plan, which will be published in March 2022.”

Kenneth Gibson said: “Billions of pounds have rightly been invested in protecting people from Covid-19 and yet smoking remains a huge killer year on year, with 9,332 deaths in Scotland being directly attributable to smoking in 2018.

“Given that smoking disproportionately impacts on the most deprived households, and taking into account the health and financial cost to families, what more will the Scottish Government do to help people to quit smoking, enabling them to improve their health and financial circumstances?”

Maree Todd said: “Reducing health inequalities and increasing healthy life expectancy are priorities for the Scottish Government, and smoking has been the primary preventable cause of ill health and premature death for many years. In June 2018, the Scottish Government published its five-year strategy “Raising Scotland’s Tobacco-free Generation: our tobacco control action plan 2018”.

“The action plan sets out interventions and policies to help to reduce the use of, and the associated harms from, tobacco in Scotland. The plan focuses on the inequalities within groups of people who smoke, the prevention and reduction of the uptake of smoking among young people, and providing the best possible support for those people who want to give up.

“The Scottish Government has introduced a 2034 tobacco-free target. Our aim is to reduce smoking rates to 5 per cent or below by 2034, creating a generation of people who do not want to smoke and are protected from the harms caused by smoking.

“The action plan continues our work on protecting children from taking up the habit of smoking and creating a tobacco-free generation by 2034.

“In addition, anyone who wants to stop smoking can contact the free national health service stop smoking service, quit your way Scotland. That free helpline provides advice and support, and it can direct individuals to local support services to help them to find their own way to stub out the habit.

“Given that smoking is more prevalent in our most deprived communities, where there is a greater risk to children and young people from exposure to second-hand smoke, we have set specific smoking cessation targets for our cessation services that are focused entirely on those communities.

“Eradicating child poverty is a national mission for the Government, and we will set out further action to deliver at the pace and scale required as part of our next tackling child poverty delivery plan, which will be published in March 2022.”

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