SPORTS commentator Archie Macpherson is backing a charter for children to highlight the dangers of second-hand smoke and the aim of creating a tobacco-free Scotland by 2034.

Mr Macpherson was diagnosed with cancer believed to have been caused by second-hand smoke exposure in press boxes and offices.

The 79-year-old had to have a healthy kidney removed along with the ureter to help him overcome his illness.

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He helped launch the campaign by anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland at Holyrood.

The veteran football pundit, who was diagnosed in 2013, said that a tobacco-free generation is a "great goal for Scotland and families".

He said: "As a grandfather and former teacher, I know the importance of putting the focus on the health and wellbeing of our young people and this charter aims to ensure children born today grow up to live in a Scotland where smoking is out of fashion and hardly seen.

"As a teenager, I witnessed many of my friends succumbing to the commercial inducements to smoke cigarettes. I never did.

"Although one has never touched my lips I fell victim to the toxic effect of second-hand smoke, which required major surgery at great cost to the NHS.

"Being in smoke-filled press boxes and offices exposed me to passive smoking so I know first-hand how vital it is that we do all we can to ensure people of all ages are protected from this kind of risk in future."

Organisations are being asked to sign up to the charter's six principles and to pledge to review their views, policy and practice to help protect children from the harms caused by smoking, reducing the burden of tobacco on our communities.

It involves organisations working directly or indirectly with young people and families and puts the focus on Scotland's ambition to achieve an adult smoking rate of five per cent or less in 20 years' time.

The list of six is: every baby should be born free from the harmful effects of tobacco; children have a particular need for a smoke-free environment; all children should play, learn and socialise in places that are free from tobacco; every child has the right to effective education that equips them to make informed positive choices on tobacco and health; all young people should be protected from commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers;

and any young person who smokes should be offered accessible support to help them to become tobacco-free.

ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said: "It's important people realise tobacco use is primarily an addiction of childhood, with two-thirds of smokers saying they took up the habit when they were under-age.

"The charter principles set out the rights of children in relation to tobacco for the first time, to be protected from cynical tobacco marketing, from exposure to toxic second-hand smoke and from getting hooked into a lethal addiction as children.

"The charter offers a strong framework for people to take forward their own aims for a generation free from tobacco, whether they are working in a local authority, the education sector, with children and young families or in other relevant fields."

Children's Charter founding signatories are Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation, Children in Scotland, Children 1st, Asthma UK Scotland, Barnardo's Scotland, Scottish Cot Death Trust and Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland) is an independent Scottish charity working to protect people from the harm caused by tobacco.