Commissioner becomes Champion of smoke-free spaces for children

05 December 2017

The Commissioner will champion the principle that Scotland’s children deserve smoke-free spaces as he lends his support to Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation.

His support comes as Scotland continues to take steps towards creating a generation free from tobacco.

It’s been a gradual process, coming about as a result of successive commitments by the Scottish and UK Governments.

Tobacco advertising has now been outlawed for decades, and public places have been smoke-free since 2006.

More recently, the age for legal purchase of tobacco has been raised to 18, cigarettes have been placed out of sight in shops, and smoking in cars with children has been outlawed.

Towards a tobacco-free generation

There are signs that we’re approaching having a generation free from tobacco.

Smoking rates have fallen from 28% in 2003 to 21% in 2016.

The proportion of 15 year-olds in Scotland who ever smoke has fallen from 33% in 1998 to 12% today.

And there is a movement in Scotland to ensure that children born in 2013 will be the first generation to grow up without any pressures to take up smoking.

A Charter for a generation free of tobacco

But there’s more to be done— and that’s where Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation comes in.

The Charter is a project led by ASH Scotland, backed by the Scottish Government and designed to support progress towards achieving the target of a Smoke-free Scotland by 2034.

It has six principles that supporters are asked to endorse:

  1. every baby should be born free from the harmful effects of tobacco;
  2. children have a particular need for a smoke-free environment;
  3. all children should play, learn and socialise in places that are free from tobacco;
  4. every child has the right to effective education that equips them to make informed positive choices on tobacco and health;
  5. all young people should be protected from commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers;
  6. any young person who smokes should be offered accessible support to help them to become tobacco-free.

Scotland’s Commissioner— a Charter Champion

Each of these principles will be supported by its own Charter Champion. The Commissioner will be Champion for principle number three, which says all children should play, learn and socialise in places that are free from tobacco.

It’s a principle that reflects article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and which was called for by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its 2016 Concluding Observations.

The Commissioner said:

“There is a momentum in Scotland to ensure that the next generation will be the first to grow up without any pressure or expectation that they will take up smoking.

“In 2016 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended – with reference to the right of the child to rest, leisure, play – that we need to ensure access to safe, inclusive, smoke-free places for play.

“The Charter is an important tool that the whole of civic Scotland can use to help change our smoking culture and help put smoking out of sight and out of mind, for our children’s future health. I am proud to support this initiative.”