Thursday 25th January 2024

(4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Lord Rennard Portrait Lord Rennard
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what progress they have made towards the ambition of creating a “smokefree” generation by 2030.

Lord Markham Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care (Lord Markham) (Con)
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Smoking is responsible for around 80,000 deaths a year in the UK, costs our country £17 billion a year and puts a huge burden on the National Health Service. That is why we will shortly introduce the tobacco and vapes Bill to Parliament in the coming weeks, to create the first smoke-free generation and further crack down on youth vaping. The Bill will be informed by our recent consultation, which we will publish soon.

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Lord Rennard Portrait Lord Rennard (LD)
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My Lords, all parties have agreed on the need to reduce the prevalence of smoking in this country to below 5% by 2030, so the Bill to prevent young people ever becoming smokers is vital. Does the Minister accept that we need to do more to help the over 6 million people in this country who are addicted smokers, most of whom are struggling to give up smoking and want to? They are damaging their health and that of others affected by smoking. Does he agree that allowing integrated care boards to make further cuts to tobacco dependence treatment budgets will not help us to achieve this target?

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord. Actually, Khan recommended four major things to achieve that in his report Smokefree 2030. The first was to increase the anti-smoking spend that the noble Lord refers to. As part of this, we propose to increase that spend from £70 million to £140 million—so we are doing absolutely what the noble Lord suggests. The second was to increase the age of sale, which of course this legislation is all about. The third was to promote vaping to help quit smoking. Again, the legislation will do that. The fourth was to increase NHS prevention methods which, again, we will do from here. So it is very much a range of measures to stop people ever smoking but also to stop many who are currently smoking by helping them to quit.