Anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland has joined forces with the World Health Organisation to highlight the ‘threat tobacco companies pose to young people’.
Sunday marks World No Tobacco Day, with this year’s theme aimed at protecting youth from ‘industry manipulation’, as well as preventing tobacco and nicotine use.
Most forms of tobacco advertising is banned in the UK, but products can still be advertised on social media.
The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2018 showed that smoking rates among 13 and 15-year-olds have stalled since 2015.
The Scottish Government has an ambition for a tobacco-free generation by 2034, so further action is needed to drive down youth smoking rates in Scotland.
ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “This World No Tobacco Day, we’re joining our voice with that of the World Health Organisation’s and focusing on protecting youth from tobacco industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.
“For the past 30 years, tobacco companies around the world have deliberately targeted young people in an attempt get new generations hooked on their products. They know that the earlier a smoker starts, the harder it is for them to quit.
“While most forms of tobacco advertising are banned in the UK, tobacco companies are still finding ways to market their products to young people on social media and are already trying to circumvent the menthol ban – which has only been in effect for two weeks – and was introduced to reduce youth smoking rates.
“Youth smoking rates in Scotland have stalled since 2015 – 12% of 15-year-olds and 4% of 13-year-olds are smoking either regularly or occasionally – so it’s vital that governments consider what further measures can be taken to protect young people from tobacco industry manipulation.”