Anti-smoking campaigners in the Borders have been given a national award for their efforts to stub out the unhealthy habit.
Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership was given the accolade as part of a charter drawn up by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in a bid to cut the number of Scots smoking from 20% of the population to 5% by 2034.
The plaudit was handed over by South of Scotland Labour list MSP Colin Smyth at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh last Thursday.
Jedburgh councillor Jim Brown, chairman of the partnership’s strategic board, said: “By signing the charter, the partners have pledged to take action in a variety of ways, including raising awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke, promoting smoke-free environments where children may be present and assisting young people to stop smoking.
“In addition to the well-known health impacts, smoking is the second highest cause of house fires, so any reduction in smoking is to be welcomed, and I am delighted that our partnership approach to this has been recognised.”
Dr Tim Patterson, joint director of public health in the Borders, said: “Smoking affects everyone. It causes harm to not only smokers but those around them through second and third-hand smoke.
“We have a duty of care to protect the health of people in the Borders and promote positive health behaviours.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership has been rewarded for its efforts to try to tackle harm caused by tobacco.”
Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH in Scotland, said: “We launched Scotland’s charter for a tobacco-free generation to help raise awareness of the worthwhile vision of putting smoking out of fashion for the next generation.
“In its first year, the response to the charter has been excellent.
“We now have 100 organisations signed up, and it is proving an effective way to bring people together and motivate organisations in the fight against tobacco and the harmful effects it has on children and young people.”
“These awards celebrate some of the positive actions that charter signatories across the country are delivering to help to ensure that children who are in nursery now become the first generation to grow up in communities where tobacco is hardly noticed.”
For further details, visit www.nhsborders.scot.nhs.uk/Quit4good.
The Borders partnership was the first organisation of its kind to sign up to the charter.