Campus café aims for a smoke-free future

An Aberdeen City alliance held a World Café event and discussion at RGU last month to share ideas and work towards creating a tobacco-free generation in the city.

Roundtable discussions on tobaccoThe Aberdeen Tobacco-Free Alliance gathered at the Sir Ian Wood Building in RGU’s Garthdee campus on Tuesday 26th September, attracting around 50 representatives from organisations around the city.

The Alliance’s aims are in line with the Scottish Government’s nationwide tobacco control strategy, supported by ASH Scotland, to inspire organisations to take action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco, address tobacco issues with young people and create a tobacco-free generation by 2034.

This week’s event saw presentations by Chris Littlejohn, Deputy Director of Public Health and Head of Health Improvement with NHS Grampian, recently appointed as a Visiting Reader at RGU; Aberdeen Youth Council; David Robertson from ASH Scotland; and The Imagineers – a group of young people who presented powerful messages about the impact of smoking.

There were roundtable discussions throughout the day on topics such as tobacco control and local policy, environmental health, mental health impact and e-cigarettes. Participants were later also given the opportunity to try a Tai Chi session.

Irene Fraser, Health Improvement Officer for Tobacco with Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) and organiser of the World Café event alongside colleague Mag Campbell, said: “The Aberdeen Alliance is a city-wide multi-agency partnership working together to implement the national tobacco control strategy of creating a tobacco-free future by 2034.

Message from school children“This event was an opportunity for people from across the city to share ideas about the best ways to achieve this over the next few years.

“For the nation to be ‘tobacco-free’ means that less than 5% of the population are smokers, while at present around 24% of Aberdonians fall into this category.

“By working together and learning from each other, we can tackle this head on so future generations can grow up in a much healthier Scotland.”

Scott Macpherson, a lecturer at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, believes that the university can play a key role in improving the wellbeing of the community and led discussions on the mental health impact of smoking at the event.

He said: “Most people are aware of some of the physical health risks associated with smoking, such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer, however smoking also has a complex relationship with mental health.

“Evidence shows that people with mental health conditions have reduced life expectancy when compared with the general population and smoking has been identified as a major cause of this anomaly, with around 30% of people who smoke in the UK having a mental health condition.

“There is always hope however, with quitting smoking being shown to be associated with improvements in stress, anxiety, depression and overall quality of life. It is our hope that these benefits will be felt by many more across the country as we approach 2034.”


Release by Jonathon Milne
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries