Smoking Reduction

– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th November 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to emphasise the harmful effects of tobacco as part of its aim to reduce smoking and protect public health. (S6O-00400)

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Our 2018 action plan commits us to interventions and campaigns aimed at discouraging smoking. We aim to make the practice less acceptable and protect others from the damaging effects of second-hand smoke. However, we are not complacent. In 2022, we will introduce an offence for smoking near hospital buildings. We will also continue to promote our free stop smoking services and other targeted media and social media campaigns. We have also committed to a refreshed tobacco action plan, which will include several new actions and interventions, as we continue towards our goal of raising Scotland’s tobacco-free generation by 2034.

Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

The number of smokers across the country has almost halved in the past 20 years. Despite that drop, smoking continues to kill 10,000 Scots and creates 35,000 hospital admissions a year. Those who live in deprived areas are three times more likely to be smokers.

Across my constituency and in wider Fife, the smoking rate is 13.6 per cent. What action can the Scottish Government take to further raise awareness of the harmful impact of smoking as we continue to work towards our target of a tobacco-free generation by 2034?

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

The member is absolutely correct to highlight the fact that smoking rates continue to fall in Scotland, but we have more to do, and we need to focus that work in more deprived communities. There is a real health inequality around smoking and its impacts. We are determined to pick up that thread throughout our work on smoking.

Like the member, I am keen to highlight the impact of smoking in Scotland, where 180 people a week are still dying of smoking. It is the fifth most common contributor to preventable deaths. We will tackle that, and I am more than happy to work with the member to ensure that the programmes that we introduce work in his constituency as well as across Scotland.

Photo of Carol Mochan Carol Mochan Labour

The Scottish Government’s own 2019 Scottish health survey reported that the number of people in the most deprived areas of Scotland who smoke regularly is more than five times the number of people in the least deprived areas who smoke regularly. Given that there is a direct link between smoking and the increased likelihood of those from deprived areas experiencing ill-health or early death, does the Government think that it is doing enough to look specifically at reducing smoking in our most vulnerable communities?

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

I am aware of those statistics and I agree with Carol Mochan that we need to do as much as we possibly can and focus our attention on smoking in the most deprived communities.

As I have the opportunity, I want to say that stopping smoking is one of the most important steps that anyone can take to improve their health. The free smoking cessation service is available right across Scotland and I am keen for people to take steps towards stopping smoking in all our communities.

The Presiding Officer:

I would be grateful if members could pick up the pace, please.