Scotland’s Charter for a tobacco-free generation

Parenting across Scotland has become the latest organisation to demonstrate support for a tobacco-free generation, joining over 250 national and local organisations who have pledged to help work towards the ambitious goal of a tobacco-free generation by 2034.

Back in 2013 the Scottish Government envisaged children born in that year reaching the age of 21 without becoming smokers. Those children are five now and we all still have a job to do to put smoking out of sight out of mind and out of fashion, creating a smoke-free culture to support their future health.

Will you help too? Sign Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation!

Children have a particular need for a smoke-free environment

To give children the best possible start in life it is important to remember that children have a particular need for a smoke-free environment. Children and infants are more vulnerable to tobacco smoke than adults because they have smaller airways, breathe faster and their immune systems are still developing. Second-hand smoke can seep invisibly into or out of open windows or doors. Even when a cigarette is stubbed out the unseen poisons in the smoke can stay around for up to five hours. So smoke can still be there even when you can’t see it or smell it.

We’ve been speaking to parents, and we know they want the best for their children, and that most parents who smoke already take some action. However we have also found that parents sometimes don’t understand enough about the way tobacco smoke behaves and the harm it causes and would welcome more information and support.

What can be done to protect children from second-hand smoke?

There are many ways to protect children from second-hand smoke. For example, parents and carers have told us they include open a window or smoke in a different room to protect their families. This might get rid of some of the smoke, but there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. The best way to protect childrenis to make the home completely smoke-free. This can be done by taking any smoking right outside.

Follow our hints and tips for practitioners below or for more information and advice visit to find out how to help support the families you work with to go smoke-free. You could also complete one of our short e-learning modules on Understanding Tobacco or Children, Carers and Second-hand Smoke.

If your organisation is not yet signed up to our Charter, register today and pledge to share information about the benefits of a smoke-free home to the families you work with. Signing up is straightforward and provides recognition of your organisation’s commitment to a tobacco-free generation. Charter signatories gain access to great resources and friendly advice from ASH Scotland.

Sign-up online at or contact Stephanie at for more information.

Ways to help families go smoke-free

  • Help them set a date to make their home smoke-free – children in cars are already protected by law
  • Encourage them to discuss plans with family and friends, and ask for their support
  • Get the children to design no smoking signs to display
  • Put cigarettes out of sight
  • Remove ashtrays from the home and put them outside
  • Create a comfortable space outside if they have access to somewhere to smoke
  • Make a list of other things they can do to distract themselves and change old smoking routines
  • Some people find that using nicotine lozenges, inhalators, sprays, gum, or an electronic cigarette, can help when they are trying not to smoke in the house.
  • Supply them with leaflets and resources containing hints and tips on going smoke-free, available from