Dan Jarvis asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what assessment he has made of recent trends in smoking among young people in England and what steps he is currently taking to reduce smoking prevalence in them.
Maggie Throup said: “Updated figures for the under 15 years old age range will be published in 2022. The new Tobacco Control Plan will outline plans to protect young people from the harms of smoking in support of our ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.”
Ashford’s Damian Green wanted to know what recent assessment has been made of the progress made on the Government’s commitment to five extra years of healthy life for UK citizens by 2035 and what steps are currently being taken.
Throup told him that the government regularly reviews progress against a range of important indicators including life expectancy and healthy life expectancy and is supporting interventions to reduce smoking.
She added: “The OHID will continue publishing the Productive Healthy Ageing profile providing data on a range of indicators including healthy life expectancy and will monitor the commitment to five extra years of healthy life for United Kingdom citizens by 2035.”
Rachael Maskell, the Shadow Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, inquired if the Department for Health will commit to supporting research into the long-term impact of e-cigarettes on public health; what steps are being taken to ensure that young people have access to comprehensive smoking cessation services; and, what steps are underway to help prevent children from taking up smoking or vaping.
Maggie Throup responded: “The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will continue to monitor the evidence base of research on e-cigarettes, including their long-term impact on health. The next review will be published in spring 2022, including analyses on flavourings, cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular disease as well as trends in youth and adult behaviours.
“The current Tobacco Control Plan for England has an objective to reduce the number of 15-year-olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less by the end of 2022. The latest available NHS Digital data from 2018 shows a prevalence of 5.3%. This data also shows that approximately 25% of 11- to 15-year-olds had ever used an e-cigarette, but regular use of e-cigarettes (use at least once a week) remained low at 2% with occasional use (using an e-cigarette sometimes, but less than once a week) at around 4%.
“Informing children about the dangers of smoking and vaping is part of the statutory health education curriculum. Local stop smoking services are available to anyone, including young people. We continue to monitor e-cigarette use and smoking among young people.”
Graham Brady, the Chair of the Conservative Party 1922 Committee, asked what recent discussions have been had with Trading Standards on tackling non-compliant disposable e-cigarettes.
Maggie Throup replied: “E-cigarettes are regulated under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR). Local Trading Standards are responsible for the enforcement of these regulations. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities provides central funding to local authorities for local trading standards activity. It is for local decision making how this is allocated across services.
“To support local enforcement of TRPR, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency are currently reviewing evidence and assisting in the identification of e-cigarette device seizures across the United Kingdom. It is working with various trading standards organisations, to correctly identify grey, black market and counterfeit devices entering illegally from foreign markets to UK distributors.”