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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Fresh assault on smoking
Kids smoking
Teenagers are being urged to give up cigarettes
A new television advert is urging young people in Scotland to give up smoking before they become hooked on the habit.

The Health Education Board for Scotland (Hebs) is moving its emphasis away from a 'just say no' approach and is instead trying to persuade youngsters to give up.

Hebs insisted it was not dropping attempts to prevent youngsters smoking, but putting more emphasis on encouraging teenagers to stop.

The board said that the number of boys who smoke had fallen to 8% north of the border, but almost twice as many girls still smoke.

Malcolm Chisholm
Malcolm Chisholm: "Health of the nation"

Across Scotland, it is estimated that about 13,000 people die every year from illnesses directly linked to smoking.

It is thought that about 9,500 of them will have started smoking as teenagers.

The new 50-second commercial, called Club Smoking, shows how two teenagers are faced with the realities of smoking.

It sets out to encourage teenage smokers to give up, and to discourage non-smokers from starting in the first place.

Scotland's Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm welcomed the campaign as a positive step in dispelling the myth that smoking was "exciting or glamorous".

'Deadly product'

Hebs chairwoman Lesley Hinds said the board had built up a close relationship with teenagers in Scotland.

"By listening to what they have to say we have produced work which has grabbed their attention and won their respect," she said.

"Hebs mass media work has a great reputation, but also has a genuine resonance with teenagers.

"This particular advertisement will go some way to undo the work of tobacco companies who have attempted to link a deadly product with images of youth and beauty."

Mr Chisholm said it was important to highlight the serious health risks of smoking.

The aim is to help those who want to give up

"I welcome this new work from HEBS. It underlines the executive's determination to reduce levels of teenage smoking in Scotland," he said.

"The health of the nation will not improve as long as teenagers continue to take up smoking.

"This advert encourages them to think about their smoking and quit before it becomes more difficult to stop."

The advert is, in part, a response to the executive's 1999 White Paper on Health Towards a Healthier Scotland.

BBC Scotland's Isabel Fraser reports
"For many teenagers the pressure's on to start smoking"
See also:

01 May 02 | Scotland
Smoking challenge for experts
02 Jan 02 | Scotland
Hotline to help smokers quit
02 Nov 01 | UK Politics
New assault on smoking ads
14 Dec 01 | Health
Smoking in movies under fire
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