36 kids start smoking every day in Scotland
8 February 2018, 07:28 | Updated: 8 February 2018, 14:19
A "classroom" of children are becoming hooked on smoking every day, according to a charity chief.
Jackie Brock, chief executive of Children in Scotland, said existing educational approaches are not enough, with 36 children taking up the habit daily.
Research shows many young people in the most deprived parts of Scotland take up smoking.
This, she says, can lead to health and wealth inequality following children for the rest of their lives.
Ms Brock, champion of Scotland's charter for a tobacco-free generation said: "In Scotland in 2018 a classroom full of children gets hooked on smoking every single day.
"It's shocking to me that we accept that a choice made by someone as young as 13 or 14 to smoke just one or two cigarettes can lead to decades of addiction, expense and ill-health.
"The majority of adult smokers started before they were 18, and almost nobody starts smoking after 25.
"If we educate young people and help them stay off cigarettes, we can solve this problem for good."
The tobacco-free generation charter, created by ASH Scotland, has been signed by more than 180 organisations who have pledged to do what they can to bring about a tobacco-free generation.
ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said: "We've got a responsibility to the next generation to take meaningful action against smoking.
"There are parts of Scotland where life expectancy is almost twenty years less than the national average, and a big part of that is down to tobacco. We can't let this cycle continue.
"Everyone wants to see cigarettes out of fashion for the next generation. The resources that are available through the charter are a great way for schools and community groups to play their part in achieving that goal."