Buying Cigarettes
I came - I saw - I bought

Smoking in Scotland: A history of the habit in the 2000s

The noughties marked a significant shift in Scotland's association with the cigarette as the public smoking ban came into force.

A call for a complete ban on smoking in public places was made by the British Medical Association in 2002 during their annual conference.

Although the country was still a few years away from this eventuality, the plea did result in a number of changes, starting with the 2002 Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act.

Sheila Duffy, ASH Scotland's chief executive said: "There was an intensive campaign to ban tobacco advertising so once the new act was passed and adverts started to come out of magazines and off billboards, we began to see a real change in attitudes in the five years leading up to the 2006 ban coming into force.

"Smoking was having a huge impact on people's own budgets and this sort of message started to emerge. The mass media also started reaching out to people and encouraging them to stop smoking."

In 2004, the Scottish Government published an action plan called 'A Breath of Fresh Air for Scotland: Improving Scotland's Health - The challenge' and a public consultation showed that of the 53,000 people voicing their opinions, 83% agreed that further action was needed to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

Sheila said: "The Republic of Ireland passed a public smoking ban ahead of Scotland and this made a big difference because it gave people the confidence that it could work here.

"The Scottish smoking ban came into place at 6am on Sunday, March 26, 2006 and people observed it.

"A couple of months down the line, when people went on their summer holidays, many people were struck with the smell of smoke as they entered a hotel lobby.

"In some communities, the Scottish smoking ban created smoke-free public spaces for the first time, and it was an important marker in changing the culture of smoking."

The ban brought about some interesting changes to smoking population numbers, with men smokers dropping from 29% to 22% and women dropping from 25% to 20%.

Have a look at our timeline to see the ripple effect the smoking ban had on the rest of the decade and watch our video for some great STV snippets which document this shift.

Published: Friday, October 19, 2012

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