Today, NHS Health Scotland and the University of Edinburgh have published 2 papers looking at potential policies to reduce harm from tobacco in Scotland. We looked at both tobacco pricing; and the availability of tobacco. We found a number of examples of policies that could reduce smoking rates. These include ways to address the particularly high impact of tobacco use on people living in deprived areas. Most of the examples we found come from international studies and are based on modelling, and so further research should be done to determine whether these approaches could work in Scotland.

Ross Whitehead, Public Health Intelligence Adviser, Evidence for Action Team at NHS Health Scotland said:

“Smoking kills around 10,000 people a year in Scotland, and causes most harm to those in our poorest areas where 35% of people smoke, compared to 10% in the least deprived areas. We need to address this health inequality if we are to achieve our smoke free ambitions.

“Last year experts told us that action on the price and availability of tobacco could affect the change needed. So we’ve looked at what actions have been taken elsewhere, as a starting point for future research on whether restricting the price or availability of tobacco could be effective at reducing harm from tobacco for people in Scotland.

“We have a reputation in Scotland for taking bold action on the things that harm our health. I hope our reports will inspire more research into our options here, so that we can reduce the harm from tobacco and create a fairer healthier Scotland”.