This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

We need by law to inform you about the cookies we store on your device. Cookies are small text files stored in your browser when you visit a website. Cookies in themselves do not identify individual users but only the computer used and activities undertaken whilst on the site.

All the cookies we set on this site are deemed to be minimally intrusive in terms of your privacy. By continuing to use this site you imply that you consent to these cookies being set.

Cookie types

Some cookies are classed as strictly necessary as the website won’t work without them. They are essential to allow you to navigate our site and to make sure the core processes work. Others are classed as performance cookies and collect information in aggregate about how visitors use our site.

When you enter our website, your computer will automatically be issued with cookies which identify your computer to our server. The website then creates 'session' cookies to store some of your preferences moving around the website, e.g. retaining a text-only preference.  Any session cookies we set are deleted on departure from the website. However, those from third parties, such as Google, may remain until you actively delete them.

Your first visit

On your first visit to our site, you will see a bar across the bottom of the site informing you that we use cookies and inviting you to acknowledge the message by clicking ‘I agree’.  If you do click ‘I agree’, the bar will be removed on all pages and on subsequent visits.

You do not need to click ‘I agree’ and the site will continue to function as expected. If you do not click ‘I agree’ the bar will appear the next and each time you visit our site.

Controlling cookies

Most modern web browsers allow users to control cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit or

Cookies used by this website
  • Cookie name: _cookieconsent_dismissed
  • Typical value: true

We use the _cookieconsent_dismissed cookie to control the display of the cookie bar at the foot of the website.

Google Analytics
  • Cookie name:  _ga
  • Typical value: 1
  • Cookie name: _gat_UA_XXXXXXXXX_1 (where X is a number)
  • Typical value: GAXXXXXXXXXX (where X is a number)

We use Google Analytics to monitor traffic levels, search queries, visits to this website, how frequently pages are viewed, and the city and country of origin of users. This helps to determine what is popular and can influence future content and development. The information collected will include IP Address, pages visited, browser type and operating system. The data will not be used to identify any user personally.

Google Analytics stores IP addresses anonymously on its servers in the US, and neither NHS Health Scotland nor Google associate your IP address with any personally identifiable information.

These cookies enable Google to determine whether you are a return visitor to the site, and to track the pages that you visit during your session.

View more information from Google on its use of analytics cookies on websites (external website).

  • Cookie name: _hjIncludedInSample
  • Typical value: 1

We use Hotjar to better understand what users want and interact with on our site.

View more information from Hotjar on its use of cookies on websites (external website).