The Scottish Borders has one of the highest levels of teenage smokers in Scotland according to a recently released Scottish Government survey.
Regular smoking by 15 year olds ranges from 5% to 13% across Scottish local authorities - 10% of Borders teenagers lighting up (down from 15% in 2002), with only Fife, Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway having worse figures.
Dr Tim Patterson, joint director of public health for Scottish Borders said: “Smoking remains a public health issue. NHS Borders continue to work in partnership with Scottish Borders Council to educate everyone on the damaging effects smoking can have on their health, including children and young people. It is encouraging that the rate of regular smoking among 15 year olds in Borders is dropping steadily.
“NHS Borders will continue to work on tobacco prevention, in partnership with schools, college and youth services across Borders to encourage young people, their families and local communities to achieve a smoke free Scottish Borders.”
John Lamont MSP said: “Smoking is still a huge public health issue and despite recent progress we are still struggling in the Borders to stop youngsters sparking up.”
“It is also illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to teenagers and for teenagers to buy cigarettes. We also need to make sure the current law is properly enforced and teenagers need to be aware that by buying tobacco products they are risking a criminal record.”