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Questions from MPs and answers the Government from the United Kingdom’s House of Commons

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Rachael Maskell MP wants the tobacco industry to fund harm reduction approaches, Alex Cunningham MP wants the government to step up and finally release the tobacco control plan, and Andrew Lewer MP wondered what data would inform the tobacco control plan. Peter Dowd was concerned about transparency, Lord Faulkner of Worcester also pressed the tobacco control plan issue, and Bob Blackman has written about tobacco control measures for Parliament News.

Rachael Maskell, the Labour representative for York Central, asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will use alcohol and tobacco duties to support programmes to reduce harm from those products.

Responding for the Chancellor, South Suffolk’s James Cartlidge said: “The Government keeps the duty rates under review during its yearly budget process and aims to balance the impact on businesses with its public health objectives.”

Shadow Justice Minister Alex Cunningham called for the new tobacco control plan to be released in his response to Autumn statement.

The Stockton North MP is the Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health. He slated the government for its “lack of action to address health inequalities”.

He also wondered why the Government has not implemented a levy on the tobacco industry to fund the long delayed tobacco control plan.

Northampton South’s Andrew Lewer asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care whether the data from the Office for National Statistics bulletin on adult smoking habits will be used to inform the Tobacco Control Plan.

Neil O'Brien, the Minister for Primary Care and Public Health told him: “The Government is considering the independent recommendations made in ‘The Khan review: making smoking obsolete' and whether an updated Tobacco Control Plan is the most appropriate way to respond. Should a new Plan be published, it will be informed by the most recent Office for National Statistics information on adult smoking habits in the United Kingdom.”

Bootle’s Peter Dowd asked the Secretary of State if he will publish data on whether England is on schedule to achieve or exceed targets on adult smoking.

Neil O'Brien replied: “In the 2017 Tobacco Control Plan, the Government set the ambition for adult smoking rates in England to reduce to 12% or less by the end 2022. In 2011 rates were 19.8%, and in 2019 rates were 13.9%. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, data from 2020 is not comparable to previous years. However, based on the trend to 2019, we expect to meet our 2022 target.

“National smoking prevalence data for 2022 will be available in 2023 through the Office for National Statistics' ‘Adult smoking habits in the UK' publication.”

The House of Lords heard an oral question about the Tobacco Control Plan. Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and health, asked the Government when they intended to publish the Tobacco Control Plan and if it is still the intention that England shall be smoke-free by 2030.

Lord Markham, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of state for the Department of Health and Social Care reiterated the Government’s commitment to the 2030 goal and that it is still reviewing the recommendations made in the Khan review.

Finally, Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for Harrow East and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, has written about tobacco control issues in the Parliament Politics Magazine. It can be read here.

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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