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CRUK’s No Smoking Day Letter

Cancer Research UK is sending an open letter to the Health Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer demanding that they act to ensure a new Tobacco Control Plan is finally published

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Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is sending an open letter to the Health Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer demanding that they act to ensure a new Tobacco Control Plan is finally published. CRUK asked members of the public to co-sign the letter urging Steve Barclay and Jeremy Hunt to be decisive where all of their recent predecessors have failed.

Ask the Health Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer to protect our loved ones. Sign our open letter today,” says CRUK.

Smoking still causes around 150 cases of cancer every day in the UK. These are the lives of our friends, loved ones, and the most vulnerable members of our society that are at risk. But at the end of 2022, the UK Government let the Tobacco Control Plan for England expire and has not given us a new one,” adds CRUK.

Not only do we have no plan to tackle tobacco in England, projections suggest that the UK Government is also almost a decade behind achieving its target for England to be smokefree by 2030. If recent trends continue, smoking could cause around one million cancer cases in the UK between now and 2040.”

“We need your support. It takes just a few minutes to add your name to the letter

No Smoking Day will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 8 March, and CRUK is hoping its letter makes an impact. You have until Tuesday to add your signature.

The open letter:

Dear Mr. Steve Barclay & Mr. Jeremy Hunt,   

Two out of three people who smoke will die from smoking. While this fact is no doubt shocking to anyone, for us it is deeply personal. Today on No Smoking Day, we have gathered the voices of people around the country to urge you to do more to protect friends, loved ones and the most vulnerable members of our society.

We are extremely concerned that if the UK Government does not act now, tens of thousands of people around the UK will in future face the same fate as our loved ones, having to battle smoking-related cancers, and possibly lose. Decisive Government action on tobacco is needed now to prevent more cancers. 

Many took up smoking in times when it was more normalised – when clouds of smoke filled pubs and restaurants, and when bright, colourful tobacco advertising was common. In the early 1970s, nearly half of the adult population in Great Britain smoked. Thankfully, while smoking rates have gone down significantly with government action, there is still much to be done. Today, 6.6 million people across the UK still smoke, and some of us are more likely to smoke than others: men, people in areas of higher deprivation, people who grew up in smoking households, for example. That’s why the Government has a huge responsibility to protect people who are at higher risk of tobacco-related harm.  

We are particularly worried that as of the start of 2023 England does not have a Tobacco Control Plan, even though politicians had previously committed to publishing one following the Khan review. Smoking is still the biggest cause of cancer, causing around 150 cases of cancer a day in the UK. That means since the last Tobacco Control Plan for England expired in 2022, around 10,000 peoples’ lives have been changed forever with a smoking-attributable cancer diagnosis.      

With pressure mounting on our health services, smoking causes an estimated 500,000 hospital admissions per year in England, and the treatment of smoking-related illnesses are estimated by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to cost the NHS approximately £2.2 billion in 2022 across the UK. 

The UK Government has a duty to act to prevent young people from starting to smoke and fund stop smoking services to help people quit. Government action on this would give us hope for a brighter future. That’s why Cancer Research UK’s Smokefree UK campaign is so important to us.  

Particularly, it is not fair that while families have to suffer through painful cancer diagnoses and a cost-of-living crisis, the four largest tobacco manufacturers make around £900 million of profits in the UK each year. If Government cannot pay for the measures and services to needed to help people quit smoking, then the industry should be made to do so. We ask UK Government to please put families and our health system first in the upcoming Spring Budget and implement a Smokefree Fund, using industry funds, without industry interference to pay for these measures and services.

On behalf of all those who have signed this letter, we urge you to please listen to our stories and take action to bring about a better future for all. Together, we can reduce smoking rates and beat cancer.    

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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