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* Government consultation on the future of tobacco control *

The Smokefree Action Coalition welcomes the Government’s consultation on the future of tobacco control and the commitment to a new national tobacco control strategy.

The Coalition has just launched a new campaign urging the government to ensure that the new national strategy:
Has the scope and ambition needed to tackle the full range of harm caused by tobacco
Is funded sufficiently to succeed
Is monitored, evaluated and updated regularly
Enlists help from across civil society

Smoking is still the major preventable cause of death and disease and inequalities in health, killing nearly 90,000 people in England each year. Two thirds of smokers start before reaching 18. There is wide popular support for action to:
Protect young people from smoking and secondhand smoke
Reduce the inequalities in tobacco-related death and disease, a burden that weighs heaviest on the most disadvantaged in society who smoke most
Give greater help to those smokers who want to quit
Find ways of helping those smokers who cannot quit

The ten pillars of a national plan

Further action to reduce smoking rates and health inequalities caused by smoking
1 A comprehensive adequately funded tobacco control strategy is needed which is properly monitored, evaluated and regularly updated and which makes appropriate links with international tobacco control measures at EU and WHO level. This should include ambitious new targets to reduce smoking prevalence by 2015 to 11% in the general population and 17% amongst routine and manual workers. By 2020 fewer than one in ten of the population should be smokers, and by 2030 smoking should be almost eliminated with fewer than one in 20 of the population still smoking.
   
2 High tobacco prices due to taxation are the single most effective intervention to prevent smoking. Unfortunately this is undermined by access to cheap, smuggled tobacco, which also exacerbates health inequalities as its use is concentrated among poorer smokers. An improved strategy to tackle smuggling at national, regional and local level is needed to stop the flow of tobacco smuggled by criminal gangs. This must include signing up to a strong WHO FCTC illicit trade protocol and the existing EU anti-smuggling Agreements.
   
Protecting children and young people from smoking and secondhand smoke
3 Children need protection from tobacco marketing through concerted government effort including taking tobacco out of sight at point of sale, prohibiting tobacco sales from vending machines, removing all brand descriptors and misleading information on tar and nicotine yields, tackling visibility of smoking in the media and sustained social marketing campaigns to prevent uptake and encourage quitting.
   
4 Sustained campaigns are also needed to inform adults of the need to protect children from the harm caused by secondhand smoke and for smokefree air at home and in cars.
   
5 The first step in protecting children is information and guidance but the Government will need to consider legislation for private cars if evidence shows it is necessary and effective.
   
Supporting smokers to quit
6 Smokers who want to quit need the Government to increase support for NHS stop smoking services, making them more widely available and easy to access particularly for disadvantaged and pregnant smokers. Smokers already suffering the harmful effects of smoking need effective stop smoking services in hospitals. Also needed is free nicotine replacement therapy and other stop smoking medications for all smokers.
   
7 Better training support is needed for stop smoking counsellors and training is needed for all healthcare professionals and community workers in the importance of referring smokers to stop smoking services.
   
8 Sustained social marketing campaigns are needed on how and why to quit, designed to meet the needs of less well off smokers.
   
Helping those who cannot quit
9 The Government should support the development of pure nicotine products (which like the current medicinal products on the market contain only nicotine and not any other tobacco products) which will be attractive to heavily addicted smokers by relieving their cravings without the harmful effects of smoking.
   
10 These new, more efficient medicinal quality nicotine products need to be promoted as a safer alternative to tobacco and be available wherever tobacco is sold.


Contact the ASH office for more details at enquiries@ash.org.uk or on 0207 739 5902.

 

 
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