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Strong signals on smoking need firm action

The MHF has welcomed the government's Tobacco Plan launched on National No Smoking Day.

Smoked cigarettesThe Forum is part of the Smokefree Coalition who described the Plan as 'a strong document which builds on the previous government’s strategy launched before the election last year. It sends a strong signal to Council Health and Wellbeing Boards that tackling smoking needs to be top of their agenda'

The Plan says very clearly that 'comprehensive tobacco control is more than just providing local stop smoking services or enforcing smokefree legislation' and contains a strong commitment to changing social norms around smoking.

However, the Coalition was disappointed that the government is putting back implementation of the legislation to prohibit display of tobacco in large shops by April 2012 and small shops by April 2015. The government has also failed to commit to plain packaging, going no further than announcing a consultation on the measure.

Gender differences

MHF CEO Peter Baker said: 'we very much welcome the Plan but would like to see greater recognition of the gender differences, as well as other inequalities, around smoking when the Plan is implemented. The Forum is ready to help do this.

'We know men remain less likely to take part in smoking cessation programmes and in some social groups men remain more likely to smoke than women. We need specific strategies to address these inequalities.'

Key elements of the Tobacco Plan include:

  • Ambitions to reduce smoking amongst adults to 18.5% or less by the end of 2015 from 21.2% in 2009/10; reduce smoking amongst 15 year olds from 15% in 2009 to 12% or less by 2015; and to reduce smoking in pregnancy from 14% in 2009/10 to 11% by 2015;
  • Commitment to working with civil society to guide the implementation of this plan;
  • Commitment to implement the display legislation in large shops in April 2012 and small shops in April 2015 with some minor adjustments to the regulations to reduce the costs to retailers;
  • Commitment to consult on plain packaging before the end of the year;
  • Allowing for commissioning over wider geographical areas;
  • Commitment to working to reduce the depiction of smoking in the media;
  • Support for the continued provision of stop smoking services including harm reduction measures;
  • Commitment to publishing a 3 year marketing strategy including mass media campaigns.

There is also a chapter (chapter 10) on protecting tobacco policies from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.

Page created on March 9th, 2011

Page updated on March 9th, 2011