What if thousands of nurseries, schools, colleges, youth groups, family attractions, charities, sports clubs, restaurants, cafes, pubs, corner shops – you name it – all over Scotland made a conscious contribution to making Scotland tobacco-free?
What if the whole of civic society became motivated to take positive action to ensure that our children were never drawn to become addicted to a substance that kills more than half of its long-term users? Or people were never exposed to harmful second hand smoke?
Well that vision can become a reality! On November 14th 2016, LinkLiving a charity that supports vulnerable people to live independent lives became the 100th organisation to endorse Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation. In doing so they pledged to take actions such as training their staff to explain the benefits of a smoke-free home and helping people they work with towards making a quit attempt.
Like the dozens of other organisations already taking positive action in their communities, LinkLiving will swell the trickle of pro-health messages that, if we press on, will become a flood. Monie a mickle maks a muckle as they say, and this Charter initiative has potential to change the culture around tobacco to one of caring for the needs of others rather than walking by.
Charter pledges have been building slowly since the launch 18 months ago, with health boards and health charities in the first wave of signatories. Now signatories are coming from a surprising variety of organisations; pharmacies, opticians, community trusts, childcare providers, fertility clinics and sports clubs to name a few.
On the 24 November, a reception in the Scottish Parliament hosted by Maree Todd MSP will see 8 organisations presented with awards by MSP’s from their own areas for outstanding contributions towards a tobacco-free generation.
Here are some of the actions those award winners have pledged:
Scottish Youth Parliament
- SYP passed a motion to promote the Charter at their National Sitting in June, they’ve since pledged to make all future sittings smoke-free
Play Away Nursery
- working to ensure that parents and carers do no smoke around collecting areas and are supporting staff to quit smoking
Scottish Cot Death Trust
- has trained community based support workers in tobacco issues. All families enrolled on their programme now receive one-to-one support to quit smoking or reduce their tobacco intake
- boldly aspires to be a smoke-free College Campus by 2019
Borders Community Planning Partnership
- created a strategy that involves the whole partnership in activity in support of the six Charter principles
East Dunbartonshire Local Tobacco Alliance
- produced a bespoke logo to support their Charter work and used the Charter principles to inform and shape their local plan
- smoke-free playparks initiative and are working to make the Kirkntilloch Canal Festival a smoke-free event
LANDED Peer Education Service
- developed a life-size tobacco board game – showcased at STA schools policy event earlier this year
A Life Explored
- working in partnership with the Care Inspectorate and ASH Scotland to influence the development of national tobacco policy guidance for use within the residential care sector.
- Children who quit smoking receive incentives such as increased pocket money for remaining smoke-free.
See what’s happening? As health boards, councils and charities cascade Charter pledge opportunities across their networks pretty soon every school, college and sports club in Scotland could be thinking about how we can make smoking history! 2016 has been a memorable year for ASH Scotland and perhaps the year we realised we really will have a tobacco-free generation. With so many organisations getting behind the 2034 target, it could even be achieved early!
Be the catalyst for change in your community, join the movement and pledge your support at: www.ashscotland.org.uk/charter
David Robertson, ASH Scotland Partnerships Development Lead and STA Coordinator