63,000 households in Scotland can be lifted out of poverty through quitting tobacco, reveals ASH Scotland

24 April 2023

Around 63,000 households in Scotland would no longer experience relative poverty if people are empowered to successfully give up tobacco, according to analysis released today (Monday 24 April 2023) marking the launch of ASH Scotland’s new three-year strategy.

The analysis also shows that 42% of all households in Scotland containing people who smoke live in relative poverty, and there would be around 10% fewer in those circumstances if tobacco was out of their lives. Reducing smoking prevalence in Scotland by just one per cent could lift more than 3,700 households out of relative poverty.

The new research commissioned by ASH Scotland is being released to highlight the launch of the health charity‚Äôs new ‚ÄėTime for a tobacco-free Scotland‚Äô strategy at the start of the organisation‚Äôs 50th¬†anniversary year.

The strategy sets out ASH Scotland’s vision for a healthier Scotland, free from the harm and inequality caused by tobacco and related products. Through its work globally and locally, the charity is striving to share learning and demonstrate public health leadership in informing best practice on regulation and enforcement of tobacco and related products.

David McColgan, Chair of ASH Scotland, said: “We are proud of ASH Scotland’s role during the last 50 years in helping to inform world-leading public health measures, such as Scotland’s 2006 ban on smoking in public places, which have substantially reduced harms caused by tobacco at national population level, and supporting the next generation to grow up tobacco-free.

“As our new strategy highlights, however, there is still much to do to eliminate the inequalities caused by tobacco and related products across our communities and to challenge the predatory profiteering industries promoting addictive, health-harming products to young people.

‚ÄúWith tobacco continuing to cause 100,000 hospitalisations and 9,000 deaths in Scotland each year, and 63,000 households experiencing relative poverty due to spending on tobacco, smoking remains a major public health and social justice issue.‚ÄĚ

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “In delivering our new strategy, we look forward to working through our global networks, local partnerships and with the Scottish Government to develop its refreshed tobacco action plan to be both ambitious and innovative in eradicating the ongoing carnage tobacco companies are inflicting on people’s health, wellbeing and personal finances.

‚ÄúScotland has a strong record in tobacco control and we should all aspire for the country to be seen again as a leading public health nation. We are calling on all public health stakeholders to work with us to make this happen, as it‚Äôs time for a tobacco-free Scotland.‚ÄĚ

For details about ASH Scotland‚Äôs new ‚ÄėTime for a tobacco-free Scotland‚Äô strategy, go to¬†www.ashscotland.org.uk/strategy¬†and to keep updated about the charity‚Äôs 50th¬†anniversary celebration activities, follow¬†www.instagram.com/ash.scotland¬†and¬†www.twitter.com/ASHScotland