Toggle menu

Tobacco Awareness

There are around 10,000 smoking related deaths every year in Scotland. Each year smoking is responsible for around 33,500 hospital admissions.

Smoking is a significant public health issue in Scotland and a leading cause of preventable ill health, premature death and disability.

Tobacco smoke contains:

  • nicotine - although very addictive substance it's relatively harmless; its the other toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke that causes serious damage to health. 
  • carbon monoxide - is a poisonous gas which take the place of oxygen in your blood.  This forces your heart to work much hardens and stops your lungs from working properly, which in turn can lead to heart disease and stroke.
  • tar - is the sticky brown substance that stains smokers teeth and fingers yellow-brown.  It contains cancer causing particles (carcinogens), damages your lungs by narrowing the small tubes (bronchioles) that absorb oxygen, damages the small hairs (cilia) that help protect your lungs from dirt and infection which can lead to a range of lung diseases.
  • toxic chemicals - such as benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde.

Tobacco comes in many forms including:

  • cigarettes - most common type of tobacco product in Scotland.  They contain two main tobacco leaf varieties, fillers included stems and other waste products, water, flavourings and additives.  The additives are use to make the cigarette more palatable to the user.  There are over 600 different additives currently permitted for use in cigarettes in the UK such as moisturisers to prolong shelf life, sugars to enable the smoke to be more easily inhaled, flavours such as chocolate, vanilla and menthol.  These additives can be toxic when combined with other substances or when burned during smoking. 
  • rolling tobacco - many people who smoke roll-ups don't use a filter, so they end up inhaling more tar and nicotine and therefore become highly addicted.  Roll-ups are at least as harmful for you as ordinary cigarettes and can cause the same health risks.  Research suggests that people who smoke roll-ups also have an increased risk of cancer of the mouth, oesophagus, pharynx and larynx compared to smokers of manufactured cigarettes.  
  • illicit tobacco - this is tobacco that has been smuggled into Scotland illegally. This can be packaged to look like your regular brand. It can be either rolling tobacco or cigarettes. Whilst it may be cheaper than legal tobacco, it comes at a cost.  The ingredients of illicit tobacco aren't known or regulated. Whilst no tobacco is safe, illicit tobacco could contain higher levels of harmful chemicals.