ASH Scotland celebrates 50 years of taking action on smoking and health by highlighting collaborative community work in Forth Valley
13 September 2023
During an event at Camelon Community Centre to mark ASH Scotland’s 50th anniversary, the charity highlighted its collaborative work with community-focused organisations across Forth Valley to raise awareness of the harms caused by tobacco and related products, and the free support that is available from the NHS 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.
Elected representatives in the form of Falkirk Provost Robert Bissett, Falkirk Council Leader Cecil Meiklejohn, Michael Matheson MSP and Gillian Mackay MSP along with Councillors Jim Flynn and Iain Sinclair attended the celebration, where they heard about activities delivered by Transform Forth Valley, NHS Forth Valley’s Quit Your Way smoking cessation service and Larbert High School towards tackling the use of tobacco and related products as part of ASH Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation initiative.
Diane Cairns, Service Manager Transform Forth Valley, the charity providing services to support individuals and families who are impacted by substance use and/or societal, financial or health inequalities, said: “ASH Scotland is a vital partner in our prevention work to inform young people and families about the risks associated with using tobacco and vaping products. Transform Forth Valley uses an amazing range of useful resources produced by ASH Scotland to highlight the impacts of smoking and vaping on health, as well as the finances of our service users, and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership in the years ahead.”
Falkirk Provost, Councillor Robert Bissett, said: “I congratulate ASH Scotland on 50 years of great work to reduce the harms caused by tobacco and smoking. I wish the charity well for the next few years and I’ll be watching with interest the progress being made towards meeting the target of Scotland having a tobacco-free generation by 2034.”
Michael Matheson, MSP for Falkirk West, said: “It was great to attend ASH Scotland’s event in Camelon to mark its 50th year of doing excellent work to reduce both the health and financial harms caused by smoking tobacco. The charity is a really important organisation in Scotland and has been hugely influential in pushing forward its public health agenda on the issue of tobacco use.
“I have no doubt that ASH Scotland will continue to play a critical role in shaping how we take forward public health policy in the years ahead. I very much value the contribution ASH Scotland makes and I look forward to continuing to work with the charity as we progress towards meeting the 2034 target for becoming a tobacco-free country, which I was pleased to be responsible for setting as the Minister for Public Health back in 2013.”
Gillian Mackay, MSP for Central Scotland, said: “Huge congratulations to ASH Scotland on 50 years of important advocacy to drive down the rates of smoking across Scotland and highlighting the inequalities being caused by tobacco.
“We’re seeing new and novel products emerging and an upsurge in e-cigarette use among young people, so we will need to do more work and go further and faster to ensure there is not a new generation dependent on nicotine. I look forward to working with ASH Scotland over the next few years to significantly reduce the numbers of people using smoking or vaping, and holding to account the companies making profits from people’s ill health.”
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, we are delighted to highlight our collaborative work in Forth Valley supporting community-focused organisations like Transform Forth Valley, local schools such as Larbert High School along with the NHS Forth Valley’s Quit Your Way service.
“We are honoured to have the support of cross-party elected representatives in Forth Valley as we seek to raise much-needed awareness about the harms of tobacco and related products and promoting the expert person-centred advice that is freely available from qualified health professionals working for the NHS in Scotland to support people to quit smoking and help the country 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