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NE public supports action to tackle smoking

12 years on from England going smokefree, support for the Government to do more to tackle smoking is strong in the North East and continues to grow nationally:

 

A YouGov poll, commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), has revealed that around three quarters of North East adults (74%) support activities to limit smoking or think the government should do more while only 7% think the government is "doing too much."

 

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The North East findings were part of a national survey of more than 10,000 adults in England, which also highlighted that support for government to do more to limit smoking has grown significantly over time.

 

  • In England, support for Government to do more to limit smoking increased from 29% in 2009, to 39% in 2017, reaching 46% in 2019.

 

  • The proportion of respondents who think that Government is doing too much has fallen from 20% in 2009 [2] to 7% today.

 

With publication of a Prevention Green Paper due imminently, ASH is calling on Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to include a commitment to ending smoking in all our communities by 2035. This target is supported by ASH and over 100 other national and local organisations including Fresh, medical royal colleges, health charities, local authorities and NHS organisations. 

 

In the North East, figures from NHS Digital show smoking killed 15,922 people from 2015 – 2017 and remains the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in England.

 

Fresh says ending smoking by 2035 is achievable if the Government introduce tough new tobacco regulations, all of which are supported by the public.

 

The majority of adults in the North East support policies including:

 

  • Requiring businesses to have a licence to sell tobacco which they can lose if they sell to underage smokers (80% of North East adults support, only 4% oppose).

 

  • Making tobacco manufacturers pay a levy or licence fee to Government to help smokers quit and prevent young people from taking up smoking, (73% of adults in the North East support, only 7% oppose).

 

  • Increasing the age of sale from 18 to 21 (61% of adults in the North East support, only 13% oppose).

 

  • Requiring tobacco manufacturers to include Government mandated information about quitting inside cigarette packs (64% of adults in England support, only 9% oppose).

 

Ailsa Rutter OBE Director of Fresh said:  "12 years ago we saw one of the most important and popular pieces of health legislation in a generation. Smokefree law transformed public places and reduced the number of people dying from secondhand smoke.

 

"These figures show again how supportive the public are for further action on tobacco and only a very small minority think too much is being done. There are very few families in the north east who haven't been negatively impacted from smoking. Each day 15 families will lose a loved one from smoking.

 

"It is time that the tobacco companies themselves were made to pay a levy which would be used for proven measures to reduce smoking among adults and young people."

 

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: "Ending smoking by 2035 is a worthy ambition for the Prevention Green Paper. To do so would make the single most significant contribution to delivering the Government's goal of 5 extra healthy years of life, while narrowing health inequalities between the richest and poorest."

 

"However, to achieve the end of smoking will require innovative new policies and funding, 'business as usual' will not suffice. The Government must respond to public demand and impose a 'polluter pays' levy on the tobacco industry, as well as implementing tougher laws on smoking, such as increasing the age of sale for cigarettes to 21."

 

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