ASH Scotland celebrates 50 years of taking action on smoking and health by highlighting collaborative community work in Dundee
03 October 2023
ASH Scotland celebrated its 50th anniversary at an event in Dundee which highlighted the health charity’s collaborative work with community-focused organisations in the city to raise awareness of the harms caused by tobacco and related products, and the free support that is available from the NHS Tayside to support people aiming to give up smoking.
Founded in 1973 by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, ASH Scotland is a charity working in and for Scotland to help deliver a generation free from tobacco by 2034.
Shona Robison, MSP for the Dundee City East constituency, and Maggie Chapman, MSP for the North East Scotland region, were amongst guests who attended the celebration in the Brooksbank Centre on Pitairlie Road to hear about collaborative activities as part of ASH Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation initiative that are being delivered in partnership with NHS Tayside’s Quit Your Way smoking cessation service.
Training provided by ASH Scotland and NHS Tayside is already producing positive outcomes with the Money Advice team at the Brooksbank Centre, which provides services and information to help prevent or relieve poverty in Dundee, asking clients whether they smoke so that, if they need help to give up tobacco, they can be signposted towards the local Quit Your Way service to receive free person-centred support.
People involved in the Brooksbank Centre’s crafting group have also been encouraged to give up smoking and, in the last month alone, more than 20 people who have engaged with the centre are now aiming to give up tobacco.
ASH Scotland and NHS Tayside have also spoken with 29 locally based staff working for Penumbra, the charity supporting people on their journey to better mental health, to increase their knowledge about how smoking can impact on physical and mental health as well as personal finances, and raise their confidence to speak with clients in Dundee about quitting using cigarettes.
Stephen Finlayson, Head of Innovation and Improvement for Penumbra, said: “Training by ASH Scotland and NHS Tayside was crucial for our staff in Dundee, who learned a lot about the impacts of using tobacco on mental health and feel much more informed about the best ways to encourage people we support to consider quit smoking with valuable person-centred assistance from Quit Your Way.”
Ginny Lawson, Manager at the Brooksbank Centre, said: “Our money advice service is regularly contacted by many people in the community struggling with the cost-of-living crisis who smoke but want to quit for better health and to save money. Thanks to the training from ASH Scotland and NHS Tayside, we are pleased to have already signposted more than 20 people with confidence to the Quit Your Way service, where they can be fully supported to leave tobacco behind and enjoy a healthier future in which they are financially better off.”
Dr Andrew Radley, Consultant in Public Health Pharmacy for NHS Tayside, said: “We are delighted to work closely with the Brooksbank Centre and ASH Scotland to support people to stop smoking. Stopping smoking is one of the best things that you can do to improve your health. The use of tobacco is a key driver of the health inequalities we see in our communities. Our work helps people to link with community pharmacies for their stop smoking attempt and this gives them the best chance of success.”
Shona Robison, MSP for Dundee City East, said: “It was fantastic to celebrate ASH Scotland’s 50th birthday at the Brooksbank Centre in Dundee. I congratulate everyone at ASH Scotland for working tirelessly since 1973 to tackle the harms caused by smoking and tobacco. They should be very proud of the significant contribution they have made to shaping health policy on tobacco use.
“It was great to join local representatives from Brooksbank, Penumbra and NHS Tayside who are working with ASH Scotland towards the target of being tobacco-free by 2034. By pushing for change and collaborating with local organisations, many more people in Dundee will feel the health benefits of quitting smoking and saving money.
“This generation faces a different challenge with vaping and new products coming onto the market. We will need the combined efforts and expertise of ASH Scotland and community organisations as we seek to tackle their harmful effects and environmental damage. Once again, by working together, we can improve people’s health and wellbeing, and protect the planet.”
Maggie Chapman, MSP for North East Scotland, said: “I was delighted to be able to attend the celebration of ASH Scotland’s 50th birthday at the Brooksbank Centre in Dundee. It was inspiring to hear the stories of people who have successfully stopped smoking. The links between poor physical health and smoking are well understood, but I was very interested to hear about the work of Penumbra and others are doing to highlight the links between smoking and poor mental health.
“I am grateful to ASH Scotland for the work they have been doing, in partnership with others across Scotland, to support people to quit smoking. I also pay tribute to the work they are doing to ensure people do not start smoking or using tobacco or associated products. The health and wellbeing of our communities will be better for this dedicated, person-centred support.”
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations in Dundee, we were delighted to highlight our collaborative work with NHS Tayside’s Quit Your Way smoking cessation service supporting community-focused organisations like the Brooksbank Centre and Penumbra.
“We are honoured to have the support of cross-party elected representatives as we seek, working together with both public and third sector organisations, to raise much-needed awareness about the harms of tobacco and related products, and promoting the person-centred advice that is freely available from qualified health professionals working for the NHS in Scotland helping the country to 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 www.quityourway.scot.
To keep updated about ASH Scotland’s 50th anniversary activities, follow the charity’s social media channels: instagram.com/ash.scotland and youtube.com/@ashscotlandmedia/videos