ASH Scotland responds to the King’s Speech

07 November 2023

Health charity ASH Scotland responded to the King’s Speech today by urging quicker progress towards taking on the profiteering tobacco industry and its lethal products to achieve a tobacco-free Scotland by 2034.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “We welcome the determination to act on reducing the horrendous impacts imposed by the tobacco industry on society. Tobacco continues to be the biggest preventable killer of people in Scotland, causing more than 8,000 deaths and 100,000 hospitalisations each year, and this demands an acceleration of progress towards taking on the profiteering tobacco industry and its lethal products.

“The proposals outlined in the King’s Speech offer long-term possibilities to tackle tobacco, but the Scottish Government has a much earlier opportunity to introduce bold and ambitious measures when refreshing its tobacco action plan before the end of autumn. If we are to achieve Scotland’s goal of a tobacco-free generation by 2034, we need urgent action that will save lives and address the substantial inequalities in our communities facing the greatest challenges during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“Removing addictive nicotine from cigarettes, reducing the availability and visibility of tobacco and related products, implementing evidence-based public health campaigns and providing increased easily accessible person-centred quit smoking support in communities with a high prevalence of tobacco use are just some of the measures that merit strong consideration.

“The Scottish Government also has an even quicker opportunity to start tackling the upsurge in young people vaping by introducing its proposed regulations to tighten rules on the advertising and promotions of recreational vaping products which were consulted on in 2022 and is already enabled by legislation passed back in 2016. ASH Scotland calls on the Scottish Government to lay these regulations urgently to protect the health of children now and future generations.”