Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has called on the SNP Government to do more to encourage people to stop smoking.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP’s call comes after new figures showed the number of smokers in Dumfries and Galloway only fell by 69 between 2017/18 and 2018/19.
This was in contrast to a fall of over 4,00 from 2016/17 to 2017/18 when numbers fell from 29,154 to 24,757.
Mr Carson says there appears to be a correlation between the number of smokers falling and the amount the SNP Government are spending on advertising campaigns to stop smoking.
Between 2016/17 and 2017/18 spending rose from £133,977 to £552,975 on cessation campaigns but last year that fell dramatically to £55,223.
Mr Carson has called on the SNP Government to ensure spending on smoking cessation campaigns is consistent.
Commenting, Finlay Carson MSP said: “While it is welcome there has been a small drop in the number of smokers in Dumfries and Galloway over the last year, efforts must be ramped up to continue to bring the numbers down.
“It appears that when the SNP Government decide to put significant money into stop smoking advertising campaigns, then the number who give up smoking in the region is significantly greater than when the spend is minimal.
“The SNP Government must be consistent when it comes to the money they spend on smoking cessation campaigns, in order to give people as much support and encouragement as possible.
“With a rise across Scotland in the number of smokers, I hope these figures will act as a wake-up call to the SNP Government that greater efforts must continue to bring down the number of people who smoke.”