PUBLIC Health Minister Michael Matheson has used National No Smoking Day to reaffirm the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle the harm caused by tobacco use.
He said the government would not be deterred by the organised lobbying of big tobacco firms.
Mr Matheson said: "Recent statistics have shown us that fewer people are smoking and fewer are being admitted to hospital with smoke-related illnesses. While it’s encouraging that we’re moving in the right direction we must keep these gains in context.
"The fact remains that 56,000 people are admitted to Scottish hospitals every year as a result of tobacco use – more people than you can fit in Hampden Park - and smoking contributes to a shocking 13,000 deaths a year."
Scotland was the first country in the UK to introduce a ban on smoking in public places, and has also increased the sales age from 16 to 18, and banned vending machines and the display of smoking-products in shops.
"The Tobacco Industry has a long and failed history of challenging governments who take action to protect public health from the harms of the product they sell," he added.
Later this month the Scottish Government launches a major campaign on the subject of second hand smoke. The hard hitting campaign will seek to illustrate the hidden dangers of smoke to children in the home and car.
Mr Matheson added: "Legislation is an important element of our anti-tobacco strategy, but awareness raising campaigns are also vital. I’m looking forward to launching our second hand smoke campaign which will spell out clearly the serious health harm which children are exposed to through breathing in other people’s smoke in homes and cars. On National No Smoking Day that is something we all should reflect on."