“What steps is [the Department for Health and Social Care] taking to ensure (a) Lambeth, (b) Southwark, (c) London and (d) England are smoke-free by 2030,” asked Dulwich and West Norwood’s Helen Hayes.
Jo Churchill MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, told her that “local authorities are responsible for providing stop smoking services”, nicely sidestepping any governmental responsibility. She referred Hayes to the London-wide tobacco alliance to meet the smoking reduction aspirations in ‘A Health and Care Vision for London’ [link]. “The aim is for London to become the first smoke free capital city before 2030,” Churchill added.
Hayes followed this up by asking: “When [the Secretary of State] plans to publish his Department's response to the potential funding options for programmes to reduce smoking uptake amongst young people in the Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s consultation, which closed on 14 October 2019?”
Churchill informed her the current Tobacco Control Plan for England, “aims to see the smoking rate in 15-year olds reduced to 3% or less by the end of 2022.”
She added that youth smoking rates are continuing to decline, and the Government remains committed to its vision of smokefree 2030. She continued: “We intend to publish the Government response to the Prevention Green Paper, ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’ in due course and key steps and ambitions to deliver smokefree 2030 after this.”
Harrow East’s Bob Blackman asked, “how much [the] Department has spent from the public purse on campaigns to promote the cessation of smoking in (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20?”
He was informed the department had spent £2.16 million and £1.78 million over those time periods, on advertising on television, radio, national press, regional press, out of home (outdoor), cinema, social and digital advertising.
Adam Afriyie previously pressed for information about the government’s plans following the Brexit transition period: “Whether [the] planned review of tobacco legislation will be based on the harm reduction principle of regulating products according to individual risk to health,” “what the timeframe is”, and “what the terms of reference for that review will cover?”
Churchill said the Government, “has a legal commitment to undertake a Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016 and The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 by May 2021”.
The timeframe question answer, but details about whether this process will give due regard to the benefits of tobacco harm reduction products like vaping was not forthcoming. Churchill said further details would have to wait until later this year, and “we will continue to monitor the evidence base on the latest developments in the reduced risk products market, including e-cigarettes, to assess their risks and evidence to help smokers quit smoking.”