ASH Scotland celebrates 50 years of taking action of smoking and health by highlighting its collaborative community work in Edinburgh

23 August 2023

ASH Scotland kickstarted a series of nationwide community-focused events celebrating the charity’s 50th anniversary by highlighting its collaborative work with Pilton Community Health Project (PCHP) in raising awareness of the harms caused by tobacco, and the free support that is available from the NHS to support people aiming to give up smoking.

Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Councillor Robert Aldridge, Foysol Choudhury MSP along with Edinburgh City Councillors Tim Pogson and Max Mitchell attended the celebration.

Founded in 1973 by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, ASH Scotland is one of four Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) charities, which were initially one UK-wide organisation and became independent of each other in 1993.

As part of its engagement work, the charity offers information, training and support to help community groups and charities operating in communities in Edinburgh, across Lothian and throughout Scotland to tackle the use of tobacco and related products.

Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge, said: “I’m delighted on behalf of the city of Edinburgh to congratulate ASH Scotland for reaching 50 years and delivering successful work taking action on smoking and health. We all hope Scotland will soon become tobacco-free and I’d particularly like to commend ASH Scotland on its work to prevent future generations growing up from addiction to tobacco and related products.”

Malcolm Chisholm, a PCHP Board member, said: “It’s great to get together to celebrate 50 years of ASH Scotland and the charity’s amazing work in partnership with Pilton Community Health Project who, next year, will commemorate our 40th anniversary. ASH Scotland is a community wellbeing partner for our project, and we have shared origins with Sir John Crofton being instrumental in founding both organisations.

“At PCHP we work to address health inequalities, both social circumstances and behaviours such as smoking where there are much higher rates in the most deprived areas compared to the least disadvantaged. NHS Lothian has an important role in offering smoking cessation services, and project like ours, which has close relationships with communities, are also vital in encouraging local people to take steps towards better health. We very much look to ASH Scotland to continue to point the way forwards for all the actions that are needed to deliver a tobacco-free Scotland.”

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “Pilton Community Health Project, the oldest community health project in Scotland, was an ideal location to celebrate ASH Scotland’s 50th anniversary as both organisations have a shared heritage in the form of the late Sir John Crofton, a world leader in respiratory medicine who was a key figure in starting the charity, and his wife Dr Eileen Crofton, who became our first Director.

“Working in communities to support pioneering organisations such as PCHP in Pilton along with NHS in Scotland’s Quit Your Way services is a priority for ASH Scotland as we seek to raise much-needed awareness about the expert person-centred advice that is freely available from qualified health professionals to support people to quit smoking and help Scotland progress towards becoming a tobacco-free generation.”

Anyone with the goal of giving up smoking can contact a Quit Your Way adviser by calling the free helpline on 0800 848484 or create a quit plan at