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Questions and answers in Parliament, and a plea from an expert for the government to adopt the recommendations of Javed Khan’s independent review

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In a month of turmoil, James Morris has been appointed as a new primary care minister. Mary Kelly Foy and Daisy Cooper posed questions to the Department for Health and Social Care. The House of Lords debated smokefree pavement licences, and Professor John Britton has called on the government to adopt the recommendations from Javed Khan’s independent review into tobacco control.

The Department of Health and Social Care appointed James Morris MP as the new minister for primary care. The reshuffle saw Maria Caulfield MP moved from the role to minister of state for Health and Social Care. Morris has previously served as a government whip and has not really engaged in voting on health matters previously.

Labour’s Mary Kelly Foy asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what steps are being taken to ensure policy convergence between risk factors for non-communicable diseases, including smoking.

She also wanted to know what assessment has been made on the combined impact of different risk factors for non-communicable diseases, including smoking, on health disparities.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Maggie Throup MP told her: “Over 40% of ill-health and early death is due to preventable risk factors, with more than half of this total related to tobacco, alcohol and diet. Addressing these major risk factors, including where these issues converge, forms part of the ambition to increase healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035 and to reduce the difference between local areas by 2030. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities was established in 2021 to provide expertise in public health, evidence and policy to ensure informed and integrated national policy making and local delivery.”

Throup added that the ill-health and early death are more prevalent in the most deprived areas and communities and are a significant contributor to disparities in health outcomes.

Liberal Democrat Daisy Cooper asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Car what assessment has been made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendation in the Khan Review to ban cartoon characters and images appealing to young people from vaping products.

She also asked what assessment has been made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendation to review the way flavours are described and flavours themselves.

And, finally, what assessment has been made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendation to prohibit vaping companies from giving away vapes for free.

Maggie Throup said: “The Government is considering the recommendations from the Khan Review, including measures to protect children and young people from starting vaping. We are assessing options such as potential benefits of banning cartoon characters and images which are appealing to children and the merits of prohibiting free samples. We are also looking at flavours and the appeal for young people. In response to the Review, we will publish a new Tobacco Control Plan in due course.”

“We are also looking at flavours and the appeal for young people” - Maggie Throup MP

Hansard carries details of the recent Lords debate on smokefree pavement licences. Although a ban on vaping is not mentioned directly, recent experience has been that when left up to their own devices, local authorities tend to lump vaping and smoking together when issuing these licences. The government has previously said it intends to continue to devolve decision making to regional authorities.

Writing to The Times, Professor John Britton called on cardiovascular and lung disease specialists to join him in “persuading the government to implement, in full, the recommendations of Javed Khan’s independent review into tobacco control”.

Preventing smoking, and the more than 70,000 deaths that smoking causes every year in England alone, doesn’t require more research. It requires the government to face down the tobacco industry and its apologists, and act.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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