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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Top doctor calls for smoking ban
Cigarette on ashtray
Smoking rates in Scotland remain above the UK average
Scotland should become a non-smoking country, according to the chief medical officer Dr Mac Armstrong.

In his annual report, he says a ban on smoking in all workplaces in Glasgow alone would save 1,000 lives each year.

The Scottish Executive will launch a consultation exercise later this year to canvas views on a ban on smoking in public places.

A senior councillor in Glasgow said the authority would introduce a ban if ministers gave it the power to do so.

Dr Armstrong's report has been welcomed by the British Medical Association Scotland and anti-smoking pressure group Ash Scotland.

SMOKING BAN
Your views on the end to lighting up in public places in Glasgow

It warns of the damage to which non-smokers are exposed as they work in smoky atmospheres.

Dr Armstrong said: "A ban on smoking in public satisfies what seems to me to be an increasingly vocally expressed wish of the vast majority of people in Scotland, both smokers and non-smokers.

"Principally however, it protects those who cannot choose. It also sends a very strong message to people in Scotland that smoking is not normal.

"It's not something we do and we would rather choose health and well-being than disease and death, which is what tobacco brings."

He said smoking caused one in three cancer deaths, more than four out of five lung cancer deaths and one in two people who smoke would die of a smoking-related disease.

Dr Mac Armstrong
Dr Mac Armstrong is forthright about the need for a ban
"Most importantly these are premature deaths, everyone has to die, but smokers die earlier," Dr Armstrong went on.

"The average smoker at 35 has seven less years of life expectancy to look forward to than non-smokers.

"Smokers who die are losing 14 years of life expectancy - that is the difference in seeing or not seeing your grandchildren, seeing your grandchildren as babies and seeing them leave school.

"These are very significant statistics and people should think hard about them."

Glasgow support

Dr Armstrong said it was his duty to speak in favour of a complete ban on smoking in public places and he urged the executive to take the lead and introduce legislation which would result in such a move.

About 37% of Glaswegians are smokers and people living in deprived areas are twice as likely to smoke.

Jim Coleman, the deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, said he believed councillors would support a ban on smoking in public if the executive gave them the powers to do so.

SMOKING - THE STATISTICS
About 13,000 people die in Scotland each year from smoking-related illness
Smoking costs the NHS 200m a year
In 2002 about 1.15 million people smoked in Scotland
At least 20 to 25% of all deaths in Scotland result from smoking
More than four out of five lung cancer deaths are smoking related
Smokers who die are losing about 14 years of life expectancy

He added: "Local authorities should take the lead in this. One of the best ways to stop people smoking is to make it difficult for them to smoke, there is no doubt about that. If you introduce smoking bans people definitely quit, that is the evidence throughout the world."

The anti-smoking group, Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) Scotland, has called for a crackdown following the publication of new evidence showing the dangers of passive smoking.

Smoking rates in Scotland remain above the UK average and it is still the biggest cause of preventable, premature death and ill health.

Latest statistics show it costs the NHS in Scotland 200m a year.

Dr Armstrong also said in his report that poor diet, a lack of physical activity and alcohol misuse continued to be major contributory factors to rates of the "big three" killers of heart disease, stroke and cancer.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's John Knox
"Smoking-related illness kills 13,000 Scots a year"



SEE ALSO:
Smoke free first set for Tayside
04 Feb 04  |  Scotland
7m offensive to stub out smoking
13 Jan 04  |  Scotland
MSPs' views on smoking sought
12 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Full smoking ban 'not in pipeline'
07 Jan 04  |  Scotland


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