Scotland has a proud record on tobacco control. As Minister for Public Health, I am determined to see Scotland remain at the forefront of those countries around the world committed to bold action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco. I am proud to introduce a new tobacco control strategy for Scotland, which sets out the actions we will take over the next 5 years on our way to Creating a Tobacco-free Generation.
Whilst the Scottish Government has long made clear its aspiration for a tobacco-free Scotland, this Strategy sets the date by which we hope to realise this ambition. This is not about banning tobacco in Scotland, or unfairly stigmatising those who wish to smoke. Our focus is on doing all we can to encourage children and young people to choose not to smoke. By so doing, we hope to create a tobacco-free generation of Scots by 2034.
To achieve this goal - defined here as a smoking prevalence among the adult population of 5% or lower - we need to continue to promote the shift in social attitudes so that choosing not to smoke is the normal thing no matter who you are or where you live. Continuing to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco, particularly to young people, is an important part of this. That is why, following the recent UK-wide consultation, this Strategy also sets out the Scottish Government's support for the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products.
Whilst the actions set out in this Strategy rightly focus on prevention, we are also committed to providing the very best services and support we can for those who wish to stop smoking. And, in working to reduce smoking prevalence through prevention and cessation activities, we need to maintain our focus on protecting people, especially children, from the harms caused by second-hand smoke.
There are so many reasons why effective tobacco control is good for Scotland. However, perhaps the most troubling aspect of current smoking patterns is the hugely disproportionate impact on Scotland's most deprived communities. Health inequalities is, therefore, a key theme running through the Strategy, with the explicit recognition that effective action to reduce smoking prevalence demands a focus on those communities at greatest risk of unequal health outcomes.
This Strategy sets out a challenging 5-year programme for tobacco control. It will require action from the Scottish Government, Local Authorities, NHSScotland and the third sector, both individually and in partnership. Most importantly, it will also require individuals, families and communities in Scotland to share, and contribute to, our vision of a tobacco-free generation.
Minister for Public Health
Email: Lee-Anne Raeburn