11 AUG 2017
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about the tobacco control plan.
I understand your concern on this matter and hope the following information on this matter from the Department of Health is of interest:
It is vital the Government reduces smoking in our society. Smoking is still the leading individual cause of preventable death in the country; it exacerbates existing inequalities in our society, and must be tackled.
In July 2017 the Government published a new Tobacco Control Plan. The last plan ran from 2011 to 2015, and exceeded its ambitions, reducing adult smoking rates from 20.2 per cent, to 15.5 per cent. I believe there is still more progress to be made, and this plan will play a central role in ushering in a smoke-free generation.
This ambitious plan, will bring together local authorities and the Department of Health in efforts to reduce the total rate of smoking, drastically cut smoking in teenagers, provide stop-smoking services and support for those with mental health issues, and eliminate the damaging inequalities long- associated with smoking.
As things stand, there are over 200 smoking-related deaths per day, and although smoking rates have fallen, still 10 per cent of pregnant women smoke, as do 8 per cent of fifteen year olds. Smoking remains stubbornly commonplace amongst the disadvantaged, with those earning less than £10,000 a year almost twice as likely to smoke as those earning £40,000 or more.
The Prime Minister spoke about the burning injustice that sees the poorest die nine years earlier on average than the richest. Smoking accounts for around half of this variation in life expectancy, and it is vital that the Government builds on its successes and uses the latest tobacco control plan to further tackle smoking and eradicate one of the most pernicious inequalities in public health.
You may also be interested in the following answer to a parliamentary question that was asked on this topic:
"Councils will receive £16 billion of public health funding between 2016 and 2021 to provide vital services for their local population including smoking cessation services. As there is such a wide variety in smoking across the country, local councils must have the flexibility to consider how best to respond to the needs of their populations."
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