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Taken from a Scottish Government campaign poster, the image features a young person with blonde hair. They are wearing a generic school uniform and a hand, make of vape smoke, is touching their shoulder

Scottish Government launches Take Hold campaign to raise awareness of vaping harms

Posted 24.11.23 by Alice Hinds

The Scottish Government has launched a new marketing campaign to inform parents, carers and school pupils about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.

As well as making use of radio and outdoor advertising, the Take Hold marketing campaign will see schools around Scotland provided with digital guidance packs and resources for posters, reinforcing the key message that vapes may quickly become harmfully addictive for children and young people, affecting everything from concentration and mental health to overall mood.

The information campaign comes as a new Tobacco and Vaping Framework is published, setting out key actions to create a tobacco-free generation by 2034, including raising the age limit for sales of cigarettes, and improving services to help people quit.

In addition, the Scottish Government will continue to review what further action is needed to limit the appeal of vapes to children, young people and non-smokers during the first phase of the framework, which will run until November 2025.

Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said: “Smoking damages lives for people across Scotland, and is responsible for one in five deaths – more than 8,000 lives a year. It causes preventable ill health and loss of life of loved ones, is a significant burden on our NHS and social care services, and is the leading preventable cause of health inequalities and costs the economy millions each year in lost productivity.

“Although we have seen smoking rates decline, and Scotland has already introduced a range of world-leading tobacco control measures, we want to do more to help us achieve our goal of being tobacco-free by 2034. This framework will provide direction for a decade and allow us to be more responsive in dealing with a variety of nicotine and tobacco products.

“E-cigarettes are one of a range of tools for adult smokers to quit smoking, but should never be used by young people or adult non-smokers. We must take action to prevent young people using vapes and becoming addicted which will damage their health, and that’s why we’re launching a marketing campaign. It is much easier to never start than it is to give up.”

Changing our World (click here for more), Children in Scotland’s young people’s advisory group, recently produced an evidence paper sharing views on vaping, exploring topics such as the impact of vaping on health and wellbeing, and how the names, packaging and flavours of many vapes are attractive to children and young people. It will be published in November 2023.

Measurement and mission statement: what our new values mean to us

5 May 2022

Chris Small on why we decided to refresh our values and the thinking behind the updated wording

What’s the point of values? In our view, as an organisation with a remit to improve children’s lives, they are vital.

Here are a few quotes from a survey of our staff, explaining why:

“Values provide a set of core beliefs and principles that act as a guide to how we should approach our work, external and internal relationships and communications”

“They help define our personality and inspire staff to a greater sense of purpose and engagement.”

“Values give everyone a shared sense of belonging to a larger mission in order to motivate us and drive our work”

“They act as a  benchmark for how the organisation should behave.”

Values have been important to us as an organisation since we were founded 29 years ago. But over the past decade we’ve been more assertive about them, threading them through internal work and public-facing activities.

In interviews recruiting for new staff, we ask candidates to talk about their experience in the context of our values. In one to one supervision, line managers ask staff they support to use our values as a reference point for discussing their work.

Our 2017 rebrand was about bringing our values to the fore, telling people what we believed in and how we wanted to achieve a more equal society for children.

Many contributors to our 25 Calls campaign (2018-20) referenced the power of values – our own and those of the organisations and young people we work with.

Our 2021-26 Manifesto picks up on that concern. Call 32 says the children’s sector must achieve ‘a fully values-driven workforce through refreshing its commitment to the Common Core of Skills, Knowledge and Understanding and Values for the Children’s Workforce in Scotland’.

But we’re also aware that values can evolve alongside organisational and societal change. We’ve learnt a lot since our previous values wording was created in 2014: about how best to take a stand on issues young people care about, how to absorb learning from projects, how to be more accessible, and how to ensure staff, young people and members can participate in our decision-making.

We want our values to be built on that learning and to correspond to the sector and society we’re part of now. So last year we decided to refresh the values, initiating a six-month project that included consultation with our staff, our children and young people’s advisory group Changing our World, our members and our Board.

The update balances the voices of those core groups, and makes our values feel more human, relevant and in tune with 2022. So, what’s different?

Changing our World members were rightly insistent that a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion was of overarching importance. That’s why it’s included in a new introduction which explains the purpose and meaning of our values.

The first of the four values is Brave, illustrating our determination to champion children’s rights and advocate for young people, even on issues that might attract hostility.

But we’re conscious that ‘bravery’ has wider meanings. It doesn’t have to be a synonym for ‘strong’. As our Head of Services Billy Anderson argues in the new edition of our members’ publication Insight, being vulnerable is often the foundation for courage.

Collaborative speaks to Children in Scotland’s character as a partnership organisation with democratic instincts. We felt our ability to bring voices together to achieve shared aims needed to be stated more explicitly in our values.

We now describe ourselves as Open and Fair, reflecting our aspiration to always be as transparent and accessible as possible and to share our learning and ideas.

Finally, we are Kind, a word that came up repeatedly in responses from our staff and Changing our World. I view it as reflecting a quality of the organisation that’s been evidenced forcefully over the past two difficult years, and which we will continue to live by.

There’s also some deliberate continuity with the values wording introduced eight years ago; our commitment to accountability, trust and respect isn’t something that’s going to go away.

Through the work of our designer Angus Doyle we’re able to bring this language together with energy, colour and visual impact, as you’ll see from the graphic on our new Vision, Priorities and Values page.

Thank you to our staff, young people’s advisory group, members and board for taking part in the project.

I hope that, on reading the new values, you recognise something of your experience of Children in Scotland. We believe they give us a description of who we are, a way of measuring how well we’re doing, and a mission statement for what we want to achieve.

Click here to read our refreshed values in full

Chris Small is Children in Scotland's Communications Manager

Introducing our refreshed values

We've updated how we describe our beliefs, qualities and ambitions

Click here to read

About the author

Chris Small is Children in Scotland's Communications Manager

Click here to find out more

2021-26 Manifesto

Our Manifesto is supported by organisations from across the children's sector

Click here to read more

Changing our World

Our children and young people's advisory group helped to shape our values

Click here for more

25 Calls

Our anniversary campaign shared ideas on how to enhance equality and rights

Click here for more

An equal chance to flourish

As part of our 2017 rebrand, we rearticulated our work and ambitions for change

Click to watch a short film

Join us in membership

Become a member and be part of efforts for change to improve children's lives

Click here for more

Our board

A committed board of directors guides and supports the work we do

Click here for more

Our young people's advisory group responds to Human Rights Act reform proposals

16 March 2022

Parisa Shirazi summarises Changing our World's views on significant draft legislation from the UK Government

As soon as we read the UK Government’s proposed changes to the Human Rights Act, we knew that this was a consultation we had to respond to.

We wanted to ensure that the voices of children and young people were heard directly. The proposals contain wide-ranging, unsubstantiated and alarming changes to human rights protection in the UK through the replacement of  the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA).

We had a dedicated session with members of our children and young people’s advisory group, Changing our World (CoW), about the suggested changes to see what they thought.

‘A fallacy of logic’

Members were concerned about proposals that would differentiate between claimants bringing human rights claims to courts by looking at their criminal history.

They pointed out that human rights are universal: “This is a fallacy of logic. If human rights apply to everyone, then you cannot judge on character in applying them!”

They were also concerned about the government’s emphasis on deportation in the consultation and about changes aimed at “groups that this government finds unpopular”.

The group was surprised about the government’s focus on the right to freedom of expression and intentions to  “strengthen the protection of” this right. This is an article protected through the HRA and the government has recently proposed legislation that would limit the right to protest peacefully in the UK. As one member stated, “It’s very contradictory, I don’t really understand”.

Improved implementation and education

CoW called for improved implementation of the rights already contained within the HRA, alongside greater education on human rights, both in school curriculums and beyond to enhance the level of ownership people in the UK have over their rights.

We were really pleased to be able to include CoW’s views throughout our consultation response (click here to read the full version).

The consultation closed on 8 March and we will monitor the next steps taken by the UK Government.

Parisa Shirazi is Policy, Projects and Participation Officer at Children in Scotland

Changing our World

Our children and young people's advisory group guides many aspects of our work

Click here for more

Consultation response

We've submitted our response on Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights

Click here to read

Our project work

A range of our activities have a focus on children's rights, participation and engagement

Click to find out more

Launch of Young People’s Manifesto helps make political ideas more accessible for all

4 March 2021

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May, we’ve launched a Children and Young People’s Version of our Manifesto for 2021-26.

Click here to download a copy of the Manifesto

We are committed to upholding child rights and making sure that young people’s views are listened to on issues that affect them.

With young people in Scotland aged 16 and over now eligible to vote, it is more important than ever than political issues and debate are accessible to all.

Launching the new Manifesto, Parisa Shirazi, Children in Scotland’s Policy, Projects and Participation Officer said:

“Children in Scotland’s Manifesto for 2021-26 was developed over 18 months with input from our members, our children and young people’s advisory group, our staff and board.

“As the calls we came up with are intended to make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people, it is hugely important that children and young people themselves are able to read them, understand them and form their views about the different issues raised.

“We are excited to publish this accessible version of our manifesto, which contains exciting calls such as the introduction of a ‘hobby premium’, embedding climate change into the school curriculum and including the voices of those under the age of 16 into Citizens’ Assemblies.”

Anna, a member of Children in Scotland’s Changing our World children and young people’s advisory group said:

"It is really important to have a children and young people-accessible version of the manifesto because children and young people need to be at the forefront of decisions that affect them.

“It is difficult for young people to have an input if there is not access to information that we can understand. Luckily Children in Scotland has added this version which will be really helpful to young people in Scotland."

Children in Scotland launched its Manifesto for the 2021-26 Scottish Parliament in November.

Endorsed by organisations including Play Scotland, Save the Children, Children 1st, YouthLink Scotland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), the Manifesto contains 33 calls, across 10 themes, and outlines key changes in policy and legislation the charity believes the next Scottish Government must make to improve outcomes for children and young people living in Scotland, and their families.

Click here to download our 2021-26 Manifesto

Click here to find out more about Changing our World

For more information, contact Chris Small, Communications Manager, or Parisa Shirazi, Policy, Projects and Participation Officer,



2021-26 Manifesto

Young People's Version

Click to download

2021-26 Manifesto: PDF version

Download a PDF booklet of the Manifesto to read our themes and calls

Click to download

Changing our World

Find out more about the Changing our World children and young people's advisory group

Click here for more

Participation & Engagement Guidelines

We developed guidelines for achieving meaningful participation with young people

Click to download the guidelines

Our project work

We run a wide range of projects, including the Children and Young People's Panel on Europe

Click to find out more

New Emerging Minds project will examine how live music could boost young people’s mental health and wellbeing

5 February 2021


A unique multi-partner research project will examine evidence for the impact of live music experiences on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Click here to learn more about the project and to find out how you can take part

Children in Scotland is collaborating with Scottish Ensemble on the research, joined by the University of Stirling, the Scottish Government and the charity’s children and young people’s advisory group Changing our World.

The project, announced today as part of Children’s Mental Health Week 2021, stems from the partner organisations’ shared interest in exploring evidence about the impact of live music on children’s wellbeing.

It reflects their hope that, in the wake of the pandemic, live music can be made an accessible part of mental health improvement activity.

The University of Stirling will bring research expertise to the project, while the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Division will have direct access to learning from the research to help shape government policy.

Young members of Changing our World will steer the group’s focus and collaborate with other members to discuss the findings and agree recommendations.

The Special Interest Research Group led by Children in Scotland and Scottish Ensemble is one of 18 supported by Emerging Minds, a UK- wide research network aiming to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by young people.

Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation Amy Woodhouse said:

“Through this project we want to understand what it is about experiencing music live that may have a positive impact on mental health. We’ll be studying the evidence for this from the perspective of children and young people, looking at the impact of different factors such as location and performance type, and how experiences vary based on age and protected characteristics, such as disability, sexuality or race. We want to identify how barriers such as poverty and other forms of disadvantage can be overcome.

“Much work has already been conducted on the impacts of learning and playing an instrument on young people’s attainment and wider learning outcomes. But our emphasis will be on the wider holistic benefits of using music as much for wellbeing purposes as for curriculum-related priorities.

“We plan to engage with others working in related areas for a series of research discussions, and we look forward to a programme of workshops over the summer which will take the project forward.”

Scottish Ensemble Project Manager Duncan Sutherland said:

“I think many of us have had a moment in our lives at a live music performance that’s connected with us in a special way. Music has that ability to inspire deep emotional connections and it’s those connections and that impact we’re looking to explore in this project, and how we can use that to enhance wellbeing for young people.

“We’re really looking forward to working with organisations from different sectors for the shared learning and discussion that will bring, and hopefully that learning will contribute to making a real impact for young people in the near future.”

Lynne Gilmour, ESCRC PhD student at the University of Stirling, said:

“I’m really excited about this project and exploring how we might take forward research into practice and see real benefits to children’s mental health through live music. Listening to live music is completely experiential, and can be a vehicle for emotional expression, and regulation, both mood enhancing and altering.

“Working together with people from different organisations, and children and young people themselves, to explore ways to capture how children and young people engage with, and benefit from, the experience of live music in their everyday lives will help to ensure any impact is measured effectively.”

Welcoming the project, comments from members of Children in Scotland’s children and young people’s advisory group Changing our World included:

“We all have songs and music experiences that we remember. Music can be a very powerful tool and we want to remind people of the impact it can have on us and to find out more about how it can support mental health.

“We are interested in finding out more about the benefit of going to gigs and live music. There is sometimes a bit of a stigma with classical music among young people and the project gives a chance to challenge that.

More details will be announced soon.

Click here to watch a short video previewing the project 

Media contact:
Chris Small,

Short film: 'Music has the ability to inspire'

Scottish Ensemble and Children in Scotland staff preview the research

Clock to watch the film

Emerging Minds

This UK-wide research network aims to reduce the prevalence of young people experiencing mental health problems

Click to find out more

Project partner: Scottish Ensemble

A pioneering string orchestra regularly performing across Scotland, the UK and the globe

Click to find out more

Project partner: University of Stirling

Offering world-class research and innovative teaching

Click to find out more

Project partner: Changing our World

Our children and young people's advisory group will help to steer the project

Click to find out more

Project partner: Scottish Government

The government's Mental Health Division will use project learning to shape policy

Click to find out more

Strengthening arts access after Covid

Contributors to our 25 Calls campaign have highlighted how the arts can support children

Click to read the blog