ASH welcome Rishi Sunak’s announcement on smoking

Posted 5th October 2023 by Dave Cross
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and ASH “are delighted by the Prime Minister’s clear signal in his speech today he wants to put delivering a smokefree 2030 at the heart of his public health legacy”. Neither the APPG nor ASH have commented on the plans to ban disposables, the colour of vape products or the restriction of flavours for e-liquids.

The government have announced they will legislate to raise the age of sale one year every year from 2027 onwards.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH, said: “We congratulate the Prime Minister for sending a clear message in his speech today that this government is determined to live up to its smokefree ambition. The recommendations set out in the Khan independent review on smoking have been taken on board, and there will be immediate benefits to smokers, to the NHS, to social care and to public finances. We look forward to seeing his words turned into action, with commitments in the King’s speech in November to legislation in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

“The Prime Minister has today announced an unprecedented set of measures to protect the next generation and hasten the day when smoking is obsolete. Children are four times as likely to start smoking if they grow up with smokers, and once they do it’s highly addictive and difficult to quit. The twin track approach of raising the age of sale and tougher enforcement to stop young people starting, matched by substantial additional funding to motivate addicted smokers to quit and provide them with the support they need to succeed, will help get us on track to a smokefree future. We look forward to the day when smoking is no longer responsible for avoidable ill health and perinatal mortality in babies and young children, nor the leading cause of premature death in adults.”

Arnott was quoted on the official government press release, where she commented that the Government’s plan comes on top of previous interventions such as the introduction of plain packaging on tobacco products, raising the age of sale from 16 to 18 and banning smoking in public places – “all of which have had a significant impact on smoking rates. In particular, raising the age of sale reduced the prevalence of smoking among 16/17-year-olds by 30%.

Overall, the number of people who smoke has reduced by two thirds since 1974, when smoking was at its peak.”

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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health is a cross-party group of MPs and Peers which was established in 1976. The purpose of the APPG is “To monitor and discuss the health and social effects of smoking; to review potential changes in existing legislation to reduce levels of smoking; to assess the latest medical techniques to assist in smoking cessation; and to act as a resource for the group’s members on all issues relating to smoking and public health.”

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) provides the secretariat for the APPG on Smoking and Health. ASH is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, salad destroyer and live culture convert.
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