Despite the serious damage caused by tobacco use in Scotland we at ASH Scotland do try to remain positive – emphasising that our work improves health outcomes and reduces inequality in Scotland and committing to being pro-health and pro-people. And our annual Christmas card is one occasion where we can always try to be light-hearted.
Smoke-free homes felt like a suitable theme for this year’s Christmas card. In the last few years we’ve devoted much time and energy to this, particularly through the REFRESH collaboration. The core principle in this work has been to engage positively with parents who smoke and support them to protect their families by only smoking outside and making their homes smoke-free. What we have found very strongly is that parents are aware of the dangers from second hand smoke and want to protect their families, but generally do not know enough about how smoke lingers in the air and travels through the house. So while we found that most parents were taking some action, such as only smoking in the kitchen, new figures from the Scottish Health Survey showed that this leaves 100,000 children in Scotland still affected by tobacco smoke at home.
In 2014 we’re looking forward to finishing up the REFRESH project and making a very strong report to our funder, the Big Lottery, on achieving the programme objectives. There will also be a Scottish Government public campaign on smoke-free homes, and the prospect of legislation in the Scottish Parliament to ban smoking in cars with children present.
In our image the bloke playing Santa has clearly heard the message – and surely nobody nowadays would consider it acceptable for him to be lighting up amongst the children?