Posted by: Sheila Duffy ASHS | April 20, 2011

Will parties take on challenge to tackle smoking?

Diseases caused by tobacco account for a quarter of the adult deaths in Scotland every year. In Scotland’s deprived communities, where smoking rates remain high and tobacco use heavy, deaths from smoking are at double the number of those in more affluent areas. Behind each death that occurs there are probably around 20 people suffering from disabling diseases caused by tobacco. The part that smoking plays in our health inequalities gap must never be underestimated, and in this pre-election period of campaigning it is good to see many of our politicians acknowledging the need to continue to tackle tobacco harm directly.

The SNP, Scottish Labour, and the Scottish Green Party have all committed to introducing a new tobacco control strategy to build on the progress that has been made in reducing tobacco’s harmful impacts in Scotland. Further, four of the five major parties – the Green Party, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Labour and the SNP – have also made specific commitments to supporting smokers to quit, prevent young people from smoking and reduce the impact of second-hand smoke on children. It’s good to see that extending protection from tobacco smoke remains a concern, with a particular focus given to protecting children from breathing in this toxic substance.

It is time for the next Government to seize the opportunity to develop a new comprehensive, robust new strategy on tobacco and to build on and continue the good work and progress of the last twelve years of a Scottish Parliament. I’m glad Scotland’s political parties have for the most part acknowledged that need. The challenge now is for our politicians to work together to continue to move Scotland towards a healthier, brighter future without tobacco.

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