NHS Lothian endorses Charter for Tobacco-free Generation

NHS Lothian this week (23 November) signed up to Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation. The Charter is designed to support organisations working with young people and families to meet the Scottish Government’s goal of having 5% or fewer of Scotland’s adults smoking by 2034.

NHS Lothian pledged its support and commitment to implement the Charter at the Lothian Tobacco Prevention Stakeholder Event 2016, held in Edinburgh’s City Chambers on 23 November. The signing was witnessed by staff from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland, who developed the Charter. It was also witnessed by pupils from Our Lady's RC Primary School, Stoneyburn, West Lothian, who presented their work to reduce the effects of second-hand smoke on children, as part of NHS Lothian’s smokefree homes project.

Welcoming guests at the event, Professor Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health, NHS Lothian, said: “Tobacco is the biggest single preventable cause of premature death in Scotland. NHS Lothian invests to reduce the likelihood that people will start smoking and to help people who do start smoking to stop and stay stopped. I am delighted to pledge NHS Lothian’s support for Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation before an audience of key partners who, like us, are passionate about reducing tobacco use and the harm caused by tobacco.”

Professor McCallum added: “NHS Lothian is committed to creating healthy smokefree environments and the Charter pledge is that a generation of children will grow up free from the harm caused by tobacco. It is our pledge to this generation that we will work together to minimise their exposure to tobacco-related harm. So it is fitting to make that pledge today in the presence of children and young people, at an event where they are showcasing their work to demonstrate why a tobacco-free environment matters so much to them.”

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “Scotland has a vision of making smoking unfashionable, with fewer than 5% of the population still smoking by 2034. It’s a compelling vision and one worth striving for. If we all work on this, the children who are just going into nursery school now can be the first generation to grow up free from the harm caused by tobacco. ASH Scotland welcomes NHS Lothian in joining us in our work towards a generation free from tobacco.”

Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation has six key principles that encourage organisations to contribute to the tobacco-free goal:
1.  every baby should be born free from the harmful effects of tobacco
2.  children have a particular need for a smoke-free environment
 all children should play, learn and socialise in places that are free from tobacco
  every child has the right to effective education that equips them to make informed positive choices on tobacco and health
  all young people should be protected from commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers
  any young person who smokes should be offered accessible support to help them to become tobacco-free.

Wednesday 23 November’s Tobacco Prevention Stakeholder Event 2016 gave NHS Lothian, and many of its partners and stakeholders working on tobacco prevention projects, the opportunity to see progress on a wide range of initiatives across Lothian to
help reduce the harm caused by tobacco.
NHS Lothian is named as an official supporter of the Charter on ASH Scotland’s website at: www.ashscotland.org.uk/supporters and on the Charter webpages at http://www.ashscotland.org.uk/charter
Notes to Editors
In attached photo:
Professor Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health, NHS Lothian, signs Scotland's Charter for a Tobacco-free generation, in the company of P6/7 pupils from Our Lady's RC Primary School, Stoneyburn and (back row) Joanne McKissack, the school's Head Teacher and Ben Hutchinson, P6/7 class teacher.

Further information on Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation can be found at www.ashscotland.org.uk/charter

For more information, please contact:
ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or enquiries@ashscotland.org.uk

• Every day in Scotland, 36 young people become new smokers.

• Evidence shows that the younger a person starts to smoke, the more likely they are to continue smoking into adulthood, the more heavily they are likely to smoke as an adult and the more likely they are to fall ill and die early as a result of smoking.

• Preventing or delaying children from taking up smoking has been shown to reduce the burden of disease in later life and make it more likely that they will not smoke.

• One in three (34%) adults in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland smoke cigarettes

• Almost half of adults who are permanently sick or disabled (48%) or unemployed and seeking work (46%) are current smokers.