Scotland’s aim is to have a “smoke-free generation” by 2034. The University of Edinburgh and NHS Health Scotland, carried out an inquiry to determine whether efforts to reduce smoking are working.
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The data collected indicates that the local tobacco control strategy is working, however smoking continues to be a problem amongst low income communities. “The evidence shows the positive impact of tobacco policy, ranging from the display ban which put tobacco out of sight in small shops and supermarkets to the introduction on smoke free NHS grounds.” said Dr Garth Reid, principal public health adviser at NHS Health Scotland.
“Yet, levels of smoking are still highest in Scotland’s most deprived areas, with 35% of people living in the most deprived areas smoking compared to 10% in the most affluent areas. It is clear that further action to reduce inequalities in smoking is necessary if the aim of making Scotland tobacco-free by 2034 is to be achieved,” he added.
The impact of e-cigarettes
In Scotland the amount of cigarettes that the average smoker smokes per day has dropped to 12.6%, from 15.3% in 2013. On another positive note, the number of children exposed to secondhand smoke has dropped from 11% to 6% in a year, meeting the target that the Scottish Government had suggested, five years earlier than hoped for.
“It’s tremendous news that we’ve seen such a dramatic reduction in the number of children exposed to secondhand smoke in the home – meeting our target five years ahead of time,” said public health minister Aileen Campbell at the time when these figures were released.
The UK leads the way in Harm Reduction
NHS Health Scotland said that on a yearly basis over 13,000 deaths are a direct cause of smoking, while 56,000 hospital admissions are also related to the habit. Thankfully the UK remains a leader in recognizing the benefits of adopting a harm reduction approach and implementing regulations that differentiate between the electronic devices and regular cigarettes. This has resulted in the country successfully reporting the lowest number of smokers ever recorded, and the second lowest rates in Europe.
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