Britain marks ten years of Smokefree legislation - The Solihull Observer

Britain marks ten years of Smokefree legislation

Solihull Editorial 3rd Jul, 2017   0

THE TEN-YEAR anniversary of the Smokefree legislation – introduced on July 1, 2007 and which banned smoking inside bars, clubs, restaurants, and other public and work places – has been marked with a dramatic steep decline in smoking rates across the West Midlands region.

The last few years have seen the steepest drop in numbers, down from 23 per cent in 2007 in the region (21 per cent in England) to 15.4 per cent in 2016 (15.5 per cent in England).

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, praised this phenomenal success and the huge benefits the legislations has brought – encouraging large numbers of smokers to quit and helping improve health among both ex-smokers and non-smokers alike.

He said: “The Smokefree legislation has been extraordinary in the way we now experience and enjoy pubs, clubs, restaurants and so many other public places.

“Young people have not had to experience the smoke filled bars and clubs that once choked their parents and workers.

“They’ve grown up in a world where smoking is no longer socially acceptable.

“The law has played a key part in the huge cultural change we have seen in the past decade, especially among younger people, a change that has literally saved thousands from disabling chronic diseases and premature death.”

New figures from PHE show that the number of smokers aged 35 and over dying from heart disease in the West Midlands has fallen significantly from 39.5 per 100,000 head population in 2007-09 to 29.5 in 2013-15; while deaths from stroke have fallen from 12.7 per 100,000 head population in 2007-09 to 9.5 in 2013-15.

Commenting on the impact on attitudes over the past decade the Smokefree legislation has led to, Mr Selbie added: “The Smokefree legacy has had a phenomenally positive impact on societal attitudes to smoking, and smokers have seized the opportunity by quitting in unprecedented numbers and, of those still smoking, half have chosen to smoke outside of their own homes to protect their families from second hand smoke.

“The Smokefree legislation was undoubtedly the single most important public health reform in generations.”

The smoking indoor ban was the first, and the most important, in a series of ten pieces of tobacco legislation over ten years.

Ten years, ten pieces of government action on tobacco:

* Smokefree legislation – illegal to smoke in an enclosed public place (2007)

* Increase in the legal age of sale of tobacco to 18 (2007)

* Introduction of graphic health warnings on packs (2008)

* Ban of sale of cigarettes in vending machines (2011)

* Introduction of 2% above inflation tax on tobacco (2011)

* Ban on display of tobacco in shops (2012/2015)

* Offence for people to buy tobacco for under 18s (2014)

* Ban of smoking in cars with under 18s present (2015)

* Introduction of standard packaging (2016/17)

* Introduction of minimum pack size (2016/17)

Dr Lola Abudu, PHE West Midlands Director of Health and Wellbeing, said: “The introduction of the ban on smoking in public places was one of the most important pieces of public health legislation to ever be introduced in this country and its impact has been dramatic.

“Not just in terms of its contribution to reducing smoking rates but also in terms of firmly embedding in our culture the importance of the public’s health and that smoking is no longer the norm.

“In the West Midlands we have come a long way since 2007, reducing the numbers of adults smoking from 23 per cent to 15 per cent.

“However there are still too many people risking their health by smoking especially in the most deprived areas of the region and we must continue to support them to give up smoking for good.”


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