News from Parliament

Posted 28th August 2020 by Dave Cross
Parliament has been told about plans for labelling tobacco and nicotine products after the Brexit transition period has concluded. Matt Hancock has announced how he is going to be rated in future, and also spoken about the future of Public Health England. Questions have been posed in the House of Lords.

Tobacco product labelling and, more importantly to us, inhaled nicotine product labelling plans have been announced by the government.

The Department of Health and Social Care has published information on requirement changes following the end of the Brexit transition period. The Government has said it is committing to maintain the current standards. It will introduce the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (2020 Regulations).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that he will be rated in a similar fashion to the way hospitals are assessed in future. His “CQC rating” will come from the Health and Social Care Select Committee led by his predecessor Jeremy Hunt.

Hunt said: “We are piloting a new CQC-style ratings system to provide an expert independent assessment of the government’s record on key pledges. This will mean the government is  held to  account by an evaluation process similar to that used across the NHS and social care system which gives not  just an absolute score but key pointers as to how to  improve that score next time round. We hope it will focus attention on areas such as cancer, mental health and patient safety where a number of vital commitments have been made.”

Perhaps the first thing Hancock could do to reduce cancer rates is to legalise snus in the UK?

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Public Health England may have been on the end of some justifiable criticism, but the sterling work it has done to promote vaping in the UK shouldn’t be underestimated. How support will be delivered in future has been thrown up in the air with the announcement that PHE’s activities are to be hived off.

Hancock gave a speech on “The Future of Public Health” at Policy Exchange last week, where he explained that PHE’s work would be shared out across the NHS.

Hancock at Policy Exchange (speeches start at 32 minutes)

Lord Rennard asked the Government: “What assessment they have made of Greater Manchester’s Smokefree Pregnancy programme; and what plans they have to implement a national smoke-free pregnancy incentives programme along the lines of that programme?”

He followed this by asking: “What plans [the government has] to increase funding for public education campaigns about smoking in order (1) to encourage people who have quit smoking during the COVID-19 lockdown to remain smoke-free, and (2) to motivate people to quit smoking in coming months?”

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Lord Bethell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care, replied: “The Government has a track record of reducing the harms caused by tobacco and is committed to achieving its ambition to reduce the rate of smoking in pregnancy to 6% or less by 2022.

“The Government is aware of the work undertaken in Greater Manchester, although we have not made a formal assessment of it. The programme will be considered by officials when exploring further ways that we can protect babies and their parents from the consequences of smoking in pregnancy.

The Government has committed £70,000 to support the ‘Today is the Day’ campaign which is targeted at localities with high smoking prevalence. Public Health England’s annual Stoptober campaign will be held in October 2020 and will take account of the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Related:

  • Labelling tobacco products after the end of the transition period, Gov.uk – [link]


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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