Charities urge Scotland’s election candidates to support campaign protecting young people from tobacco industry interference

31 May 2024

ASH Scotland and Asthma + Lung UK Scotland are marking World No Tobacco Day 2024 today (Friday 31 May) by urging General Election candidates standing in Scottish constituencies to support their campaign calling for the end of vapes advertising and marketing being targeted at children and young people.

‘Protecting young people from tobacco industry interference’ has been chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the theme for this year’s campaign.

The health charities want General Election candidates in Scotland to join their calls for a stop to the marketing of sweet flavoured, brightly coloured vapes and their promotion by organisations funded by tobacco firms targeting young people.

Most vapes contain high levels of nicotine, which is very addictive, as well as toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested for breathing in and can damage lungs over time.

Candidates in Scotland are also being asked to pledge to uphold the UK’s commitment to WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3, an important global health treaty, by undertaking not to speak with tobacco or vaping companies about health policies, either before or after the election.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “In supporting WHO’s World No Tobacco Day 2024 campaign in Scotland, we are speaking out against the predatory tobacco industry marketing tactics promoting vapes and creating a new wave of addiction.

“Tobacco industry promotions have lured young people into starting to use their addictive products for decades and, in recent years, the same is now happening with vapes and we’re urging General Election candidates to support our campaign to stop the targeting of marketing aimed at children and young people.”

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland said: “The high rates of youngsters vaping in Scotland is concerning. It is illegal to sell vapes to under 18s, and we strongly discourage non-smokers, especially children, from starting vaping. It is crucial the government takes action to prevent the vaping industry from marketing their products towards children.

“The power, influence and money the tobacco and vaping industry have at their disposal to market their products is vast and far reaching and we must continue to press the government to legislate against it and uphold the rules that are already in place. Our top priority is protecting the health of young people from the dangers of tobacco and preventing youngsters from starting to vape.”

In the run-up to World No Tobacco Day 2024, WHO and the global tobacco industry watchdog STOP have published a new ‘Hooking the next generation: how the tobacco industry captures young customers’ report spotlighting how the tobacco and nicotine industry designs products, implements marketing campaigns and works to influence health policy environments to help them to addict young people. The report can be read at