Thursday, 21 October 2010

ASH Scotland's vision of a new dawn

For some reason my pc won't cope with pdfs just now, so I went to another place to read the new Beyond Smoke-Free document issued yesterday by ASH Scotland. Surprisingly it doesn't describe a smoke-free Scotland, but one in which tobacco is increasingly regulated. They are less ambitious than I thought, and the name of the document is definitely a misnomer (they are still at the stage of 'Towards Smoke-Free').

The opening image shows a family of four blissfully jogging in the sunshine. I think the implication is meant to be that smokers don't (or perhaps can't) jog.

A brief summary of the doc is as follows.

Part 1: Prevention
Short term
More youth involvement in prevention initiatives
Targets for young people post-2014
Prevention work at local level
Display ban
Tackle illicit tobacco
Tobacco control issues included in Curriculum for Excellence

Medium term
Further reduce visibility: promote law in the UK for standardised, unbranded packaging
Money seized from smuggling to go to youth prevention initiatives
Award scheme for retailers that choose not to sell tobacco

(note: 'TOBACCO IS UNIQUELY DANGEROUS ... it is not a normal product and should not be sold as such': I am not sure if this is thought be a scientific claim.)

Part 2: Cessation
Short term
Already effective and cost effective but more needs to be done: evidenced based, wide variety of solutions should be offered
Service should be more accessible to hard-to-reach groups
Create quality standards and identify gaps in training provision
Engage in evidenced based social marketing to highlight the dangers of  taking up smoking at any age
Encourage government to replace information about tar and nicotine content with general information about the dangers of smoking and where to go for advice on giving up
Tax increases 5% per year

Medium term
All health professionals should be able to discuss smoking with their clients
All health professionals trained in discussion of tobacco and appropriate referral
Support for developments in smoking cessation

Long term
Significant increase in price of hand rolling tobacco and prohibiting tax and duty free tobacco in the UK

Part 3: Second hand smoke exposure
Short term
Extend laws to areas currently covered by exemptions (prisons, mental health facilities)
Social marketing campaigns to increase people's awareness of the dangers of smoking in vehicles
Interventions to prevent smoking in the home, provision of training in implementing such measures
Consultation on legislation to ban smoking in vehicles
Targets for zero exposure at home and in vehicles: awareness raising

Medium term
All health and education institutions to have smoke-free grounds
Effective harm reduction strategies (e.g. NRT to stop people smoking at home)

Long term
Further limitations to exposure

Part 4: Government, society and industry
Short term
Develop a multi-agency national tobacco strategy for each area of Scotland
Transparent reporting on tobacco interests in article with Article 5.3 of the FCTC
Develop reduced ignition propensity cigarettes: four out of 10 home fire deaths result from tobacco smoking – ensuring that tobacco industry has no say in health policy and no increase in customer base

Medium term
Scottish Government will continue to influence UK government on tobacco control
Government will regulate tobacco promotion, marketing, information provision and sale
More tobacco industry accountability on ingredients
Use influence with developing country partners such as Malawi to improve conditions of tobacco growers, with the aim of cultivating other crops instead.

Long term
Tobacco industry to be made more accountable, tobacco proceeds to finance tobacco control.


Well there you have it. One or two measures, affecting packaging, product information and the availability of duty-free products, are reserved issues and cannot be taken forward by Scotland alone.

The issue of what information goes on to a pack of tobacco is included in the present consultation on revising the EU tobacco products directive, which is worth looking at: they wish to get a green card from the whole of Europe to maximise government regulation at a Europe-wide level. You can download the consultation here, and anyone can respond.

Please note that the removal of exemptions in the smoking ban legislation is included as a short-term aim. I don't know whether it includes long-stay hospices or care homes, or only the mental health facilities that we already know are under threat.

1 comment:

Dick Puddlecote said...

"I think the implication is meant to be that smokers don't (or perhaps can't) jog"

Shirley Strong, Olympic Silver 1984. Looker, too. :)