Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, liver disease and lung disease are the leading cause of death and disability in Scotland. In 2020, these NCDs were responsible for more than 40,000 deaths, in excess of 62% of all deaths.
We know that one in five of these deaths are preventable through public health action. Scotland has often led the way with world-leading, population-level action that has positively impacted public health, such as minimum unit pricing of alcohol. But more is needed.
In 2020, a group of 10 of the nation’s leading health charities, launched a report on the prevention of non-communicable diseases through tackling health harming products.
As the 2021/22 parliamentary year begins, we have come together again to call for urgent action to prioritise public health in the Covid-19 recovery. We must tackle health harming products such as alcohol, tobacco, and unhealthy food and drinks. Since the launch of strategies for alcohol, tobacco and healthy weight in 2018, action on these issues has slowed, further stalled by the Covid-19 pandemic.