Tobacco Control in the UK

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Tobacco Control Plan is needed to fight the fight the power of big tobacco

The Institute of Health Promotion and Education endorses the need for a new Tobacco Control Plan.

Smoking is strongly associated with socioeconomic disadvantage. Unemployed people, those with low incomes and those with longstanding mental health conditions are more likely to be smokers. We think that major improvements in health can be achieved by supporting the most disadvantaged in society to make healthier choices.

A future plan also needs to contain support for children. Mandatory personal, social and health education programmes in all schools would ensure that children are provided with key information and skills to make sound decisions about their health.

Developing a new Tobacco Control Plan requires a sound knowledge of who is promoting tobacco and the tactics they have used in the past. Tobacco companies have tremendous power and, despite the overwhelming medical evidence against cigarettes companies are still able to sell their products. Some markets are expanding.

Many health professionals are currently working hard to support smokers who want to change their behaviour But national leadership is needed to support them. The government must renew the Tobacco Control Plan urgently to help the most disadvantaged in society and to ensure that smoking rates do not begin to rise again.,

Watson, M C and Lloyd, J. 2017 BMJ Letters

BMJ 2017;356:j351

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