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Highland trio win national award for protecting children from tobacco

By Andrew Dixon

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From left: Fraser Szymborksi-Welsh, Karen Burnett, Sean Gallagher, Shannon Diack, Eve Macleod, Catherine Cumming and Claire Kilburn-Young.
From left: Fraser Szymborksi-Welsh, Karen Burnett, Sean Gallagher, Shannon Diack, Eve Macleod, Catherine Cumming and Claire Kilburn-Young.

NHS Highland, Highland Council trading standards and Inverness College UHI have been recognised for their work in support of Scotland’s charter for a tobacco-free generation.

They joined a range of organisations that were commended on the outstanding contributions they have been making to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in their communities.

The charter is an initiative from health charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Scotland to help deliver a tobacco-free generation of Scots by 2034. The charter has six key principles that encourage organisations to pledge how they can contribute to the tobacco-free goal.

The Highland collaborative worked with drama students at the college, who created and starred in a series of short films, raising the issue of proxy purchase of tobacco. These video clips were promoted on social media in the Highlands, and were viewed almost 11,000 times.

In conjunction with the videos, pavement vinyl stickers were placed in and around Inverness, to further raise awareness of Ash Scotland’s Not A Favour campaign, which discourages adults from buying tobacco products for children and young people.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Ash Scotland, said: “Scotland has a vision of putting smoking out of fashion for the next generation, with fewer than five per cent of the population still smoking by 2034.

"The charter is proving an effective way to align organisations in the fight against tobacco and particularly the harmful effects it has on children and young people.

“I’m delighted to present the Highland Collaborative with a charter award to recognise their significant positive contributions in support of the charter principles. Each step an organisation takes furthers Scotland’s progress towards a generation free from tobacco.”

NHS Highland’s health improvement specialist Eve MacLeod said: “We are delighted to secure recognition for our work to reduce the amount of tobacco-related harm in Highland. As a health board we have a responsibility not only to treat people when they become unwell, but to help keep them healthy.

“Our local young people have made their voices heard with these videos, and we are all really pleased with how well the campaign has been received. Working together in a collaborative way has helped to increase the reach of the campaign.

“We are committed to a smoke-free generation by 2034 and we will work closely with partners’ agencies across Highland, and indeed the rest of the country, to ensure we achieve that aim.”

College wellbeing officer Claire Kilburn-Young said: “We are delighted to receive this recognition, which comes as Inverness College UHI celebrates its one-year anniversary of signing Scotland’s charter for a tobacco-free generation.

“The students involved all excelled in their creativity and professionalism and we are extremely proud to see their work and that of the wellbeing team recognised. Inverness College UHI continues to work towards a tobacco free campus as part of our healthy university strategy with smoke-free outdoor events and other initiatives.”

Trading standards manager David MacKenzie said: “We were happy to help the young people of the Highlands by supporting the #notafavour campaign and are delighted that the work carried out by the Highland Collaborative has been recognised nationally.”

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