HEALTH bosses in Renfrewshire have thrown their weight behind a national bid to make Scotland tobacco-free by 2034.

Despite the continuing drop in smoking rates across Renfrewshire, a third of deaths amongst those aged 35 to 69 across the area are caused by smoking.

In addition, more than eight per cent of kids under the age of 30 months in the area are reported to be exposed to second-hand smoke.

Dr Donny Lyons, chair of the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership Integration Joint Board, signed the ASH Scotland charter for a tobacco-free generation last week, along with vice chair Councillor Jacqueline Cameron.

Dr Lyons said: “Tobacco is still the most common preventable cause of death in Scotland.

“Signing this charter is important as it shows our continued commitment to reducing smoking and our determination to ensure all children in Renfrewshire will grow up free from the harmful effects of tobacco.

“Our staff already carry out work focused on key charter principles and by signing the ASH Scotland charter we are committing the HSCP to further sustained action to reduce tobacco-related harm by encouraging people not to start, supporting them to stop or protecting them from tobacco smoke.

“The real benefit of the HSCP signing ASH Scotland’s charter is to re-emphasise our commitment to creating smokefree environments for future generations. Every child has a right to have the best start in life and growing up in a smokefree environment is an important part of that.”

Tobacco use accounts for almost one in four of all deaths in Scotland and is responsible for around 33,500 hospital admissions annually.

It costs the NHS around £400million a year to treat smoking-related illnesses.

Cllr Cameron said: “We know quitting smoking isn’t easy, but we offer world class smoking cessation services in local community venues and in all pharmacies.

“Our Quit Your Way service delivers tobacco control programmes in schools, supports the expansion of smokefree environments such as playgrounds and offers support to people who want to make their home smokefree.”