ASH Scotland welcomes Scotland’s new cancer strategy, Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action.
From the start, this strategy puts people at its heart, and it is clear on the need to take action to reduce the risk of people getting cancer in the first place. Smoking tobacco is seen as both a preventable cause of cancer, and as being embedded within the fabric of health and social inequalities. After noting that lung cancer is predicted to continue to be the most common cancer in 2023-27, the strategy comments:“Some of the most common types of cancer, where the gap between the most and least deprived areas is largest, are cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung, mirroring the socially patterned smoking rates. Mortality rates show a similar picture.” (p10)
Smoking remains the principal preventable cause of many illnesses and of premature death in Scotland. For ASH Scotland, tackling tobacco and aiming to put smoking out of sight, out of mind and out of fashion is a key part of tackling inequalities in our communities throughout Scotland. So, it is heartening to see that the first committed action under the Prevention heading (p19) is:
“We will ensure all the actions in our Tobacco Control Strategy, Creating a Tobacco Free Generation are implemented in full. This focuses on reducing the health inequalities inherent in smoking; creating an environment that supports young people to choose not to take up smoking; continuing to protect people from second-hand smoke; and supporting smokers to quit.”
Scotland’s tobacco strategy, Creating a Tobacco-free Generation sets out a bold and committed set of actions designed to reduce tobacco use and the harms it causes. As in 2016 we are celebrating the successes of ten years of our smoke-free enclosed public places legislation, so we must keep working to ensure that when a child born anywhere in Scotland this year reaches the age of 18 in 2034, they will view smoking as an undesirable part of history.