14 September 2016: Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what further action they are taking to reduce the incidence of smoking-related diseases.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
"My Lords, by way of prologue, I should explain that this debate was originally initiated not by me but by the noble Lord, Lord Young of Cookham. His new ministerial responsibilities—I warmly congratulate him on his appointment—preclude him from speaking this evening, but I am delighted to see him in his place on the Government Front Bench, and I know that his lifetime commitment to the cause of tobacco control is undimmed. When he asked me to take on the debate in his place, I was, of course, very happy to agree.
Underlying what we are discussing this evening is the inequality which continues to blight our society. In her initial speech as Prime Minister, Mrs May committed her Government to, “fighting against the burning injustice that, if you’re born poor, you will die on average 9 years earlier than others”.
Half of this difference in life expectancy is due solely to higher rates of smoking among the least affluent. This is an injustice that we cannot allow to continue.
Throughout my time in this House, I have spoken on tobacco control many times, as, indeed, have many of the other noble Lords contributing to this debate. We started with the Private Member’s Bill to abolish tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and the adoption of a smoke-free environment on the parliamentary estate. The UK has emerged as a world leader in tobacco control, with successive tobacco control plans, starting with Smoking Kills in 1999. Since then, the rate of smoking in England has declined by more than a quarter, to only 16.9% of the adult population in 2015...."
"My Question asks the Government what action they are taking to reduce incidence of smoking-related disease. As I have explained, the action needed is the publication of a new tobacco control plan for England without delay, with renewed and enhanced ambitions. Under the last plan we achieved a great deal and made large steps towards improving public health and we must not allow these achievements to go to waste. A new plan must build on the progress that has been made, continue to drive down smoking rates and protect our most disadvantaged from the burden of entirely preventable death and disease caused by tobacco."
read my contribution in full