Rother Valley MP calls for Government to keep up the push to cut smoking deaths

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

This week in Parliament there was a debate to review the Tobacco Control Plan which was published a year ago, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.

The steady reduction in smoking rates has continued, smoking rates have dropped by almost a quarter in recent years.

In 2012, 20.4 per cent of UK adults smoked and that has now dropped to 15.8 per cent.

The UK now has the second lowest smoking rate in Europe, but it still has tens of thousands of people dyeing prematurely due to smoking.

The Government’s plan sets out some tough targets but they are targets that need to be hit to continue the good work done so far.

Funding of smoking cessation services is key to hitting these targets but the funding for them is falling all over the country.

I raised this issue with the minister and asked that ring-fenced funding for these groups is provided from central Government.

There are 2.9 million adults using e-cigarettes in the UK, of whom more than half have stopped smoking completely.

According to Public Health England ‘cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country”.

The body has also stated in the past that e-cigarettes are ‘at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking’ and the main chemicals in e-cigarettes have not been associated with any serious risk.

It is very unfortunate that sensationalist media reports are creating an air of uncertainty around e-cigarettes and deterring many smokers from making the switch.

It would be a tragedy if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.