Nus Ghani has sought the assurances of Steve Brine MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, that rural communities will have equal access to the Government’s new Tobacco Control Plan. The Tobacco Control Plan will seek to support more smokers in quitting smoking, reduce the number young people taking up smoking and ensure that current tobacco legislation is universally enforced.
Speaking in the chamber last week, Nus said, “Within East Sussex, Wealden has the highest number of smoking-related deaths. I welcome the update on the tobacco control plan, but how will my hon. Friend raise awareness and provide equal access for rural communities?”
This Government has already made significant advances in preventing the uptake of smoking and in reducing its harm; including introducing standardised packaging, banning cigarette displays in many shops and making it illegal to smoke in cars with children.
It is encouraging that smoking rates amongst adults and young people are at their lowest level ever; however, given that Wealden has the highest number of smoking-related deaths within East Sussex and an above average incidence of new cancers in relation to the rest of England. As such, it is vitally important that the Tobacco Control Plan serves our community.
Commenting on the Tobacco Control Plan, Ms Ghani said: “East Sussex County Council will be responsible for designing a local Tobacco Control Plan. This is appropriate, as smoking rates vary considerably across the country, and it is right that local councils have the flexibility to consider how best to respond to the unique needs of their local population. I will be sure to work with the Council to create a plan that will see that Wealden benefits fully from the Tobacco Control Plan.
I'm heartened that by 2021 councils will have received £16 billion of public health funding since 2016, and that the United Kingdom is a world leader in tobacco control. I know that this is an issue that concerns a great many people, and I am determined to making Wealden a healthier place for all.”