Monday, 10 February 2014

Smoking in Cars

Cancer Research UK spends £12 million a year on research into curing lung cancer but we can’t beat lung cancer without reducing smoking uptake. Smoking kills one in two long term smokers, and with eight in ten smokers starting this potentially fatal addiction before the age of 19 it is vital that we act now to reduce the uptake of smoking and therefore reduce mortality rates.

The incidence of lung cancer is significantly higher in Hyndburn than in the rest of England, with 60.6 cases per 100,000 people as compared to 47.7 per 100,000 elsewhere. Given the high levels of lung cancer, I believe that comprehensive tobacco control measures must be taken.

One such measure is standardised tobacco packaging. Peer-reviewed research has shown that standardised packaging reduces the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products, particularly for young people, and increases the prominence and effectiveness of health warnings. Evidence from Australia, which was the first country to introduce standardised packs in December 2012, has been compelling.

70 percent of Smokers using standard packs reported that they found their cigarettes less satisfying and 81 percent using standard packs were more likely to rate quitting as a higher priority in their lives.

I therefore support the enabling amendment to the Children and Families Bill on standardised packaging of tobacco products, as well as amendments on proxy purchasing and sales of nicotine products (including e-cigarettes) to under 18s, and a free vote on enabling legislation to ban smoking in cars with children.