DFNHS strongly supports proposals from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking to introduce some stronger measures to enhance tobacco control.
- Making the polluter pay: a charge on the tobacco transnationals designed to deliver a fixed sum annually to the Government to fund high impact, evidence-based measures to encourage smokers to quit, and discourage youth uptake.
• Reducing the affordability of tobacco: by increasing the annual tobacco tax escalator with an added uplift for hand-rolled tobacco (currently much more lightly taxed) to prevent down-trading detrimental to public revenues and public health.
• Retail licensing: to support enforcement activity against underage sales and illicit tobacco, by banning the sale of tobacco from unlicensed retailers or those who break the law.
• Collection and publication of tobacco manufacturers’ sales and marketing data: to monitor the evolving behaviour of the industry and inform better regulation.
• Increased funding for education campaigns: using the charge on the industry to fund targeted campaigns to increase attempts to quit, and discourage uptake, using social and mass media.
• Support for innovative regional collaboration: to motivate quitting, enforce age of sale regulations and reduce illicit trade.
• Raising the age of sale of tobacco from 18 to 21: to discourage uptake by those most at risk and reinforce the message that smoking is uniquely dangerous.
• Government mandated pack inserts to support quitting: a cheap and effective means of supplementing on-pack warnings with messaging encouraging smokers to quit.
• Enhanced guidelines on smoking on screen (film and TV): to reduce the exposure of young people to images of smoking which have been proven to increase uptake of smoking.
These proposals have been endorsed by 16 organisations including medical royal colleges, the BMA, leading health charities like the BHF, BLF and CRUK and professional health organisations like ADPH and the FPH. The Green Paper on Prevention is currently in development and the more support proposals get the more likely they are to be taken seriously.
If you are active on social media we would be grateful if you would consider tweeting in support of the ASH submission on tobacco for the Green Paper on Prevention.
This backs up the recommendations from the APPG on Smoking and Health in a more detailed report published at the weekend which sets out the underpinning evidence for the proposals in more detail (the APPG submission was written by ASH in collaboration with UKCTAS for the APPG).
Dr Nick Hopkinson (DFNHS member)
Imperial College London