More Scots are obese than smoke says Cancer Research UK

obese couple Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A charity says obesity is more likely to cause some cancers than smoking

The number of obese people is nearly 50% higher than the number of smokers in Scotland, according to research by a cancer charity.

Cancer Research UK said smoking is the biggest preventable cause of the disease but obesity is the leading cause of four types of cancer.

The charity has launched a new UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of the links between obesity and cancer.

It has called on ministers to restrict junk food multi-buy price promotions.

Analysis of official figures by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) estimates there are around 1,270,000 obese adults in Scotland - 29% of the adult population.

It says that is almost 50% more than the number of smokers living north of the border (798,000).

CRUK says research has suggested excess weight causes 190 more cases of bowel cancer in Scotland each year than smoking.

For kidney cancer, the figure is around 130 more cases, ovarian cancer rates are increased by around 40 and liver cancer cases by around 25.

Launching a new campaign to raise awareness of the link, the charity has renewed its call for Scottish ministers to take bold action when they publish their next programme for government.

Image copyright CRUK
Image caption Posters with images inspired by old-fashioned cigarette packs are being displayed around Scotland

Gregor McNie, CRUK's head of external affairs in Scotland, said law changes surrounding smoking have led to a huge fall in the number of smokers.

Although he admitted it was not a "silver bullet" to reduce obesity, he said it proved that government-led change works.

"The Scottish government must do what it can to make it easier for people here to live a healthier life," he said.

"In its next programme for government, a commitment to introduce laws to restrict the junk food multi-buy price promotions that tempt us to eat too much would go a long way to helping us to do a healthier shop."

The campaign compares smoking and obesity to show how policy change can help people form healthier habits.

Posters with images inspired by old-fashioned cigarette packs will be on display at prominent sites across Scotland including at Glasgow Central Station, as well as on bus shelters throughout Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh.

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