This section gives information on NHS Health Scotland´s tobacco programme.

In recent years there have been major developments in smoking cessation and tobacco control in Scotland, including recognition by the Scottish Government of the important role that smoking cessation can play in improving the health and wellbeing of the population of Scotland. The Scottish Government introduced a national tobacco control strategy in March 2013 ‘Creating a smoke-free generation’. 

Smoking is one of the principal preventable causes of illness and premature death in Scotland. Scotland continues to have high smoking rates, especially in disadvantaged communities.  Although smoking prevalence in Scotland is now 23%, 39% of adults in the 10% most deprived areas of Scotland smoke in comparison with 10% in the 10% least deprived areas of Scotland. 

In recent years there has been a focus on helping people to give up smoking.  In Scotland, free-of-charge smoking cessation services are available in every NHS Board and there is an ongoing need to ensure that these services improve quality and offer best value for money.

For advice and support on stopping smoking, call the national helpline Smokeline on 0800 848484. There is also a webchat service for those who prefer to chat online on the canstopsmoking website.

NHS Health Scotland supports all health NHS Boards to meet the Scottish Government target for smoking cessation. The Scottish Government asks that all areas in Scotland deliver universal smoking cessation services to achieve at least 80,000 successful quits (at one month post quit) including 48,000 in the 40% most-deprived within-Board SIMD areas over the three years ending March 2014.

Significant progress is being made in relation to smoking prevention in Scotland too.  Around 15,000 young people unfortunately start smoking every year in Scotland.  Reducing the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products may deter young people from starting to smoke.  Current legislation through the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill includes banning all vending machines and banning all promotional displays of tobacco. 

You can also view all NHS Health Scotland tobacco resources.

For publications enquiries email:

Updated 30 July 2014

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