Campaigners have warned that Scotland is set to miss its ‘tobacco-free’ target by 16 years, reported The Scottish Herald.
Cancer Research UK has published a forecast predicting that the Scottish Government’s target to reduce the number of smokers to five per cent of adults by 2034 is set to be unachievable. The institution instead predicts that more than one in 10 adults will still be smoking by 2034 and the five per cent target will not by met until after 2050.
In order for the target to still be considered achievable, the smoking rate in Scotland would have to fall nearly twice as fast as originally predicted, an equivalent of 585,000 fewer smokers in Scotland compared to at present. According to the report, for those living in Scotland’s poorest communities, it was predicted that by 2050 more than one in 10 would still be smoking.
Cancer Research UK believes that the target will only be met if all smokers who visit hospital are systematically offered support to quit. Greater public awareness, promotion and access to smoking cessation services will also be necessary. The results of the report come after the number of smokers in Scotland increased for the first time in seven years, from 806,817 in 2017/18 to 808,829 in 2018/19. Smoking is currently the largest preventable cause of cancer in Scotland, as around 4,100 people die from lung cancer every year.