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68% of the East Midlands public support raising the age of sale to create a smokefree generation

Thursday, 7 December 2023

(Issued by the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Smoking and Tobacco Alliance)

A new YouGov poll for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) shows 68% of people in the East Midlands support the Prime Minister’s plans to create a smokefree generation by raising the age of sale so that it will never be legal to sell tobacco to anyone born after the start of 2009.

The poll comes with one week to go until the end of the UK-wide Government consultation to stop the start of new smokers, which also covers tougher regulation to curb youth vaping.

A requirement for retailers to request proof of age from all those buying tobacco, to make the policy easier to implement, is also supported by ASH, and backed by 67% of the public in the East Midlands.

The consultation also considers what further regulations are needed on vaping products. ASH is calling for the following measures:

Making disposable vapes subject to duty to reduce their affordability and increase powers of HMRC and Border Force to prevent illegal vapes being imported.
Putting vapes behind the counter and preventing their promotion in shops
Banning product design and brand imagery on vapes and their packaging which is appealing to children
Together these measures will reduce the affordability and appeal of vaping to children while ensuring e-cigarettes remain available as a less harmful alternative to help smokers quit.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said:

“This is not a party political issue in the UK, successive governments, backed by strong public and parliamentary support, have passed increasingly stringent tobacco regulations aimed at bringing the smoking epidemic to an end. The passing of the smokefree generation legislation promised in the King’s speech, backed by increased investment to help adult smokers quit, can put us in pole position to achieve a smokefree future.”

Lucy Hubber, Nottingham City Council Director of Public Health, said:

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable ill health and death in Nottingham due to its well recognised harms including stillbirths, lung disease, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Smoking is also the single most important driver of health inequalities.

“Smoking & tobacco control is a priority within the Nottingham City Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy with just over one in five (21.2%) adults in Nottingham being current smokers. By bringing together Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s two local authorities, districts, hospitals, fire service, police and a range of other important community partners, we have created a strong alliance with the shared goal of building a smoke-free generation. It is great to see the public are in support of this public health legislation as it presents a key opportunity to make a smoke-free generation a reality.

“We know almost two-thirds of our current smokers in Nottingham wish to stop smoking. While this legislation focuses on preventing the next generation of smokers, in Nottingham there is free advice and support for those who want to quit today – wherever you live in the East Midlands, you can find more about your local stop smoking service here.”

Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health at Nottingham City Council, said:

“Like the majority of our citizens, I support the proposed legislation which increases the age-of sale of cigarettes. Smoking harms peoples’ health and places pressure on our NHS causing over 11,000 hospital admissions and more than 4,500 preventable deaths each year across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. However, the damage it causes goes beyond this as its impact is felt by families and communities.

“Smoking is an addictive habit that traps many people at a young age. This new legislation will support future generations of children and young people to live healthier and longer lives.

“The harms of smoking are not the same across the UK with people in some communities being more likely to smoke or finding it harder to quit. This legislation is vital in helping to reduce the avoidable differences in health between communities that result from smoking.”

Councillor Matt Barney, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said:

“Smoking is an addiction that mainly develops in childhood. In Nottinghamshire, we’ve made a lot of progress to reduce our smoking rates, but smoking is still one of the largest causes of health inequalities in the county.

“We want to create a world where those born in Nottinghamshire never smoke. We’re already working closely with partners to ensure the right support is available which will help people - particularly more vulnerable people - to stop smoking, prevent children and young people from taking up smoking, and reduce the impact illegal tobacco and exposure to second-hand smoke has on our communities.

“I warmly welcome the proposals contained in the Government’s recent statement which are aimed at preventing children and young people from starting smoking in the first place.”

Jonathan Gribbin, Director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire County Council, said:

“Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable ill health and premature death in Nottinghamshire. Helping people to stop smoking, and making sure young or vulnerable people don’t take up smoking, features in the Nottinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy, as this helps improve people’s health, especially for residents living in our most deprived areas.

“Two out of three smokers will die from smoking unless they quit. Smokers are 36% more likely to be admitted to hospital and will need social care 10 years before they should [1]. Two thirds of those who try smoking will go on to be daily smokers. Most smokers start as children and end up hooked on a lifelong addiction, wishing they had never started. The smokefree policy proposed by the Government could have a profound impact. It offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect future generations from the harms of smoking, enabling young people to have a life without the addiction, cost and diseases caused by tobacco.

“In the meantime, support for Nottinghamshire residents who want to give up smoking is available through Your Health Notts, who offer a friendly, tailored and free service to help people on their quit journey.”

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