Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Smoking rates have flatlined in Scotland

From the Scotsman...

Scotland records first rise in smoking for seven years

Smoking in Scotland is on the rise for the first time in seven years, prompting fears over the prospect of achieving flagship plans for a “smoke-free” country by 2034.

There has also been a fall in the number of smokers trying to quit, official figures have revealed, while spending on cessation campaigns has seen a dramatic drop. Estimated smoking numbers increased from 806,817 in 2017/18 to 808,829 in 2018/19, official health service figures show.

This is not the first indication that anti-smoking policies are failing in Scotland. Last year, ASH Scotland reported that 'smoking prevalence rates amongst 13 and 15 year olds have flatlined since 2015'. It CEO, Sheila Duffy, said:

“It’s disappointing that the youth smoking rate has stopped falling across Scotland and that 12% of 15 year olds and 4% of 13 year olds are smoking either regularly or occasionally.  This mirrors what we saw in the adult smoking figures from the Scottish Health Survey 2018 – where the smoking rate has hovered around 18% since 2017– and suggests that the impacts of tobacco reduction policies have stalled."

Naturally, this has led to a crisis of confidence in the Scottish 'public health' movement. Anti-smoking groups have had to admit that plain packaging - which was introduced in 2017 - was a waste of time, and Nicola Sturgeon is lobbying Westminster to repeal it.

I'm joking of course. There will no period of reflection. Instead, they're demanding MOAR MONEY!

Sheila Duffy of ASH Scotland says:

“This is an invisible epidemic, which disproportionately affects the poorest people in society. That’s why we’ve been calling for tobacco to be recognised as the major public health epidemic that it is and for urgent action to tackle it. This must be a priority for the new Public Health body."

Er, the government has been taking 'urgent action'. It has done everything groups like ASH have asked of them - endless tax hikes, plain packs, display bans, smoking bans. Own it.

“As part of this, we’d like to see more funding for mass media campaigns and smoking cessation services, which have been proven to help people quit.”

According to the Scotsman:

The figures reveal spending on smoking cessation campaigns fell to £55,223 in 2018/19 – down from £552,975 the year before.

If this is a problem, I have the solution. In 2018/19, the Scottish government gave ASH Scotland £671,741. ASH Scotland does not run smoking cessation services or smoking cessation campaigns. It never has. All it does it lobby the government for useless policies.

The Scottish government should therefore stop giving taxpayers' money to a pressure group and instead spend it on more productive activities. If ASH Scotland's activities are wanted by the public, it will have no problem surviving on voluntary donations - which in 2018/19 amounted to a grand total of £2,417.

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