One person dies from smoking in Scotland every 40 minutes, according to analysis carried out by a cancer charity.
The study by Cancer Research UK, shows smoking remains the leading cause of death in the country, with the ill-effects of tobacco inhalation believed to be responsible for about a third of the nation’s cancer deaths each year.
The analysis, released today to mark World No Tobacco Day, also found one person is admitted to hospital in Scotland every six minutes due to smoking.
The Scottish Government has set a “smoke-free” target – defined as less than five per cent of the adult population smoking – for 2034, but Cancer Research UK says its analysis shows this target will not be achieved until after 2050.
The charity believes the Government’s forthcoming tobacco control action plan – expected to be published later this year – is an opportunity to take bold action and support more people to give up smoking in Scotland for good.
It also says introducing a Smoke-free Fund – where the tobacco industry pays for the harm it causes – could make a dramatic difference in driving down smoking rates.
Cancer Research UK is now urging people in Scotland to sign a petition for the UK Government to establish the fund.
The charity’s public affairs manager for Scotland, Dr Sorcha Hume, said: “The Scottish Government must ensure that its refreshed tobacco control action plan, expected in 2023, includes bold measures to reduce smoking and inequalities.
“We need more Government action so young people don’t start smoking and more funding for the measures and services needed to help people quit.
“This World No Tobacco Day, we are urging people in Scotland to sign our petition to call on the UK Government to establish a Smoke-free Fund which would make the tobacco industry pay for the harm it causes.
“And we encourage the Scottish Government to work with Westminster to help make this happen.”
A poster appeal in aid of the petition can be seen in Cancer Research UK shops across Scotland. People can show their support by scanning a QR code in shop windows or signing the petition online.
The Scottish Government was approached for comment.