We need to talk about smoking and poverty

The Gathering 2018

Year of publication
Poverty Alliance and ASH Scotland

This project set out to investigate why there is not more collaboration between public health and anti-poverty interests, given the clear shared aims of improving people’s well-being, and to explore changes that might help to address this.

Methodology: semi-structured interviews with local anti-poverty organisations in Fife and Renfrewshire, complemented by discussions with several organisations working at a national level, following up with two focus groups.

Five main recommendations for the future which emerged:

· Improve understanding of the situation: Further exploring the role and impact of smoking in the lives of people living in poverty, including the participation of people with lived experience.

· Positively frame messages: In order to engage anti-poverty interests, messaging around smoking must be framed positively, with the emphasis on supporting people rather than on taking something away.

· Help to find alternative coping strategies: With smoking so often used as a coping mechanism, we must do more than just call on people to stop smoking and need to support them in finding alternative coping strategies.

· Offer organisations advice: Offer organisations the advice, resources and training they need in order to engage clients who smoke in an empathetic and supportive manner.

· Encourage better collaboration: Provide the necessary leadership, and encourage better collaboration between health and anti-poverty interests, by integrating smoking and poverty in local and national strategies.

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