SMOKING: Positive steps to smoke free

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With smoking remaining the leading cause of preventable death in the UK, the publication of the Government’s new tobacco control strategy is a positive step in the right direction.

Despite a steady decline in the number of smokers, more than 200,000 children and young people are still taking up smoking.

A focus on preventative measures is vital if we are to achieve a smoke-free generation.

Smoking is a notoriously difficult habit to break and it is absolutely essential that smoking cessation services are adequately funded and supported across the North East.

While we welcome developing policy such as plain cigarette packaging and increased taxation on tobacco, continuing cuts to local authorities mean that many smoking cessation services are under threat and those who wish to quit smoking may find themselves without the help they need.

With 79,000 annual deaths in England attributed to smoking, the Government must commit to carrying out its strategy, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds where smoking is more prevalent, so that we can achieve a tobacco free society and prevent unnecessary illness and death.

Professor Parveen Kumar

BMA board of science