UK government wants only 12 per cent of adults to smoke by 2022
Time for the English to stub out. That’s the aim of the UK government’s latest plan to discourage smoking, ultimately driving the proportion of adult smokers down to the notional “endgame” level of less than 5 per cent. “Our vision is nothing less than to create a smokefree generation,” says Steve Brine, minister for public and primary care, in his foreword to the plan, Towards a Smokefree Generation.
Anti-smoking lobby groups have welcomed the plan, but warn that it won’t work unless the government reverses cuts in budgets and resources for smoking cessation services offered through the National Health Service and by local authorities.
The proportion of adult smokers in England has already fallen within six years from 20.2 to 15.5 per cent, the lowest level since records began, and way lower than 40 years ago when almost half the adult population smoked. But the goal now is to drive it down to less than 12 per cent by 2022.
This is a key stepping stone to the “endgame” figure of 5 per cent. “If this rate of decline can be sustained, a smokefree generation could be achieved by 2030,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), an anti-smoking charity.
Another key aim of the new plan is to produce a new generation of non-smokers by reducing the proportion of under-15s smoking from 8 to 3 per cent by 2022. More than three quarters of adult smokers began as teens.
Through actions both at national and local level, the government says it will target the groups most vulnerable to smoking, including teens and poorer sections of society where smoking remains heaviest.
Arnott warns, however, that this won’t work unless more resources are made available to would-be quitters. “The NHS needs to play a role in this, as what we’re seeing are cuts in ‘stop smoking’ services offered by local authorities which are made worse by NHS clinical commissioning groups refusing to fund stop-smoking medications,” she says.
The plan will also seek to make the NHS smoke-free by 2020, and mental health inpatient services smoke-free by 2018. The plan points out that at 40 per cent, patients with mental health conditions are among the heaviest smokers, and so represent a key risk group.
One of the key routes to quitting could well be electronic cigarettes, which provide inhalable nicotine as a vapour without the huge additional burden of toxic tar products found in real cigarettes. “The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking,” says the plan. “However, the evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco.”
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via New Scientist – News http://ift.tt/1Sl3dlX
July 18, 2017 at 08:24AM