Tobacco-free Charter: Neil Galbraith, NHSWI Chair, Murdo MacMillan, NHSWI Non-Executive Director, and Dr. Maggie Watts, NHSWI Director of Public Health

Neil Galbraith, Chair of NHS Western Isles, was today proud to endorse Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco Free Generation.

The Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation is an initiative by health charity Action on Smoking and Health Scotland to help deliver a tobacco-free generation by 2034 (by this we mean less than 5% of the population still smokes). The Charter inspires organisations to take action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco.

NHS Western Isles is joining an esteemed list of over one hundred organisations that have already backed the Charter including: British Lung Foundation, Early Years Scotland, Scottish Cot Death Trust and Fife College.

This move to endorse the Charter highlights NHS Western Isles forward-thinking policy in relation to tobacco. The Charter is in keeping with the Health Board’s aim of encouraging the whole health care community to help reduce the harm caused by tobacco.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “Scotland has a vision of making smoking unfashionable, with fewer than 5% of the population still smoking by 2034. The Charter is proving an effective way to align organisations in the fight against tobacco and the harmful effects it has on children and young people.”

“We’re encouraging organisations from across sectors to get behind this important initiative and welcome NHS Western Isles in joining us in our work towards a generation free from tobacco.”

Neil Galbraith, Chair of NHS Western Isles said: “Accompanied by Dr. Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health, and Murdo MacMillan, Non-Executive Director, we were delighted to sign ASH Scotland’s Charter for a tobacco-free generation by 2034. NHS Western Isles is the first Island area health board in Scotland to sign up to the Charter”.

“As Smoking is a significant public health issue in Scotland and a leading cause of preventable ill health, premature death and disability, I am determined that we, as a health organisation, will do all we can to reduce tobacco-associated harm”.

The Charter has six key principles that encourage and enable discussion within organisations to examine how their own policy and practice can best contribute to the tobacco-free goal:

Every baby should be born free from the harmful effects of tobacco.

Children have a particular need for a smoke-free environment.

All children should play, learn and socialise in places that are free from tobacco.

Every child has the right to effective education that equips them to make informed positive choices on tobacco and health.

All young people should be protected from commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers.

Any young person who smokes should be offered accessible support to help them to become tobacco-free.