Smoking kills around one in five people in Scotland. It remains the most significant cause of preventable cancer. It contributes to much of Scotland’s cardio-vascular and pulmonary health problems, with people in poorer areas experiencing the greatest harm. That is why we welcome the wide range of actions set out in Scotland’s Tobacco Control Action Plan, published today, to help reach the 2034 smoke-free ambition and reduce health inequalities in Scotland.

NHS Health Scotland will be leading on a range of work across all four themes in the strategy. Our work will include; an update to the ‘green curtain’ campaign, contributing to the implementation of smoke free prisons, and, help to improve awareness of and access to the Quit Your Way Scotland helpline services.

On average, 21% of people in Scotland smoke, but in our poorest areas, it is much higher. Thirty five percent of people living in our poorest areas smoke (compared to 11% in richer areas) and they find it harder to give up once they’ve started.

Garth Reid, Interim Joint Head of Evidence for Action, NHS Health Scotland

“Recent research has found that outlets selling tobacco are clustered in poorer areas. Being healthy is about more than making healthy choices. We must also address the environment we live in. Our recent work has shown the potential that interventions on price and availability could have on this. We are pleased to see a commitment to gather more evidence on this, in the new plan.

“Too many people are dying as a result of harm caused by tobacco. The challenge now is to ensure widespread understanding that we need bold action in order to reduce the harm caused through smoking. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and others to identify and put into action the best evidence of what works to address this serious and persistent health issue.”

Go to our rapid evidence review on tobacco availability

Go to our rapid evidence review on tobacco pricing.