ASH Scotland welcomes Ministerial Statement on Working Towards a Tobacco-free Scotland by 2034 and Tackling Youth Vaping

26 March 2024

ASH Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Statement on Working Towards a Tobacco-free Scotland by 2034 and Tackling Youth Vaping this afternoon (Tuesday 26 March 2024).

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “We warmly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to reducing the harms caused by tobacco which continues to be the biggest preventable killer of people in Scotland with more than 8,000 deaths each year.

“We are pleased that the Minister has listened to concerns expressed by ASH Scotland and has confirmed the Scottish Government is content that, if the UK Government’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill is passed at Westminster, no one buying addictive, health harming tobacco products under-age in Scotland will be criminalised.

“We do, however, want to see the Scottish Government taking rapid action in laying, at the earliest practicable opportunity, its proposed restrictions tightening the rules on the advertising and promotions of recreational vaping products which were consulted on two years ago in Spring 2022 and are enabled by legislation passed in Holyrood back in 2016.

“Following mounting evidence of adverse health impacts, and studies consistently showing that youngsters who use e-cigarettes are up to three times at greater risk of starting to smoke tobacco, government must move at pace to take all vital steps to protect young people’s health. Waiting for potential four-nation agreement by MPs at Westminster, with a General Election pending, presents a severe risk of delays to regulations that children’s health and wellbeing can ill afford.

“As most e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine, which is extremely addictive, as well as toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested for inhalation and can damage lung health, retail marketing restrictions need to be introduced urgently as a vital measure to discourage youth vaping by reducing the promotion and visibility of e-cigarettes on our high streets and in communities across Scotland.”