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Government issues ultimatum to tobacco industry - make smoking history by 2030

The end of Theresa May’s premiership can’t come quickly enough.

The publication of the Government’s Green Paper on harm prevention had been expected for some time - details were leaked a couple of weeks ago - but the way it was slipped out last night took everyone by surprise.

The FT got the inside story and it appears that health secretary Matt Hancock was involved in a fierce row with the outgoing PM.

According to the FT, May wanted the proposals published as part of her ‘legacy’ (which is looking increasingly tragic).

Hancock, on the other hand, wanted to hold fire until the new PM - presumably Boris - is in office.

Commenting on the FT report, the Sun’s Shaun Wooller tweeted:

Mr Hancock was initially reluctant to have the paper published by his own Department of Health and Social Care, meaning that it was instead published by the Cabinet Office and DHSC together. The minister also argued successfully against any press notice to accompany publication.

BBC News health editor Hugh Pym tweeted:

Important Government green paper on prevention of ill-health slipped out online this evening without warning by the Cabinet Office (not DH) - quite extraordinary - @FT reporting Theresa May forced publication despite Matt Hancock’s opposition.

Apparently May wants her legacy to include a ‘ban on smoking by 2030 and a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children.’

According to the BBC News report published overnight:

The government is pledging to end smoking in England by 2030 as part of a range of measures to tackle the causes of preventable ill health.

See: Pledge to end smoking in England by 2030 (BBC News).

Meanwhile, over on the government website, you’ll find this extraordinary statement:

We are setting an ambition to go 'smoke-free' in England by 2030. This includes an ultimatum [my emphasis] for industry to make smoked tobacco obsolete by 2030, with smokers quitting or moving to reduced risk products like e-cigarettes.

See: Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s

Closing date for consultation responses is October 14, 2019.

Also slipped out yesterday were details of a ‘post-implementation review looking at the tobacco legislation introduced between 2010 and 2016’.

The legislation introduced during this period includes bans on displaying tobacco products and prices in shops; selling nicotine-inhaling products, including e-cigarettes, to under 18s; buying nicotine-inhaling products on behalf of someone under 18 (proxy purchasing); and smoking in cars containing children.

The Government says it wants your ‘opinions and evidence on the legislation’:

Your views will help us to assess whether the legislation has achieved its objective and whether legislation is still the best way of achieving that objective.

See The impact of tobacco laws introduced between 2010 and 2016.

Closing date for this consultation is September 15, 2019.

The irony is that Forest spent years calling for a review of the impact of Labour’s smoking ban but the Conservative-led Coalition wasn’t interested.

Now, finally, we’re going to get a review of anti-smoking legislation introduced by successive Conservative-led governments but it will only go back to 2010, when the Tories came to power.

Conveniently that allows the consultation to ignore the loss of 11,000 pubs in the decade since the introduction of the ban and the subsequent impact on local communities.

It also means the Government can continue to turn a blind eye to all those polls (some as recent as 2017) in which a majority of adults in England, Scotland and Wales have consistently supported separate smoking rooms in pubs and clubs.

That is not a message the Government wants to hear so the impact of the smoking ban is simply excluded from the ‘review’.

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Reader Comments (4)

So it is prohibition.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 13:58 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

Anything that smokers say, or anyone who supports free choice has to say, will be ignored. We know what "public consultation" really means these days and that is only what public health and it's vested interests want to hear. It is not worth the paper it is written on.

Boris has one chance to stop the Brexit Party from killing off the Tory Party - and it isn't just about bloody Brexit which a lot of us are sick of hearing about when there are so many other home grown issues that need to be tackled including the oppressive power of the Nanny/Bully State to criminalise minorities made unpopular via a public hate campaign.

End the hate - bring back tolerance, inclusion and fair play.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 14:35 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Does this 2030 proposal amount to prohibition, and all that entails?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 15:15 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mallon

Instead let's end Tobacco Control by 2030! The public funding of the persecution of smokers must stop. It's time to recognize the harm caused by smoking bans and restore accommodations for smokers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 18:01 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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