I was happy to read this morning there’s new research showing a 12% drop in cases of childhood asthma in the year following the smoking ban in enclosed public spaces. I have long supported measures to reduce the presence of smoke in our daily lives and am happy that a smoking ban, which I voted for it in parliament, is clearly working to improve the health of our children.
Smoking is an issue I feel passionate about; I have long supported campaigns to ban smoking in public spaces. However, I believe we need to go further and that research finding such as these studies should give us that impetus. In February of last year I signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 2724) that noted “the designs on tobacco packaging attract children to try smoking” and called on the government to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes which many believe will reduce the number of young smokers.
There is strong evidence that packaging tobacco products in standardised packets makes them less attractive, particularly to young people, increases the visibility of the health warnings and stops smokers believing (incorrectly) that some brands are less harmful than others.
In August of last year, on this blog, I called for people to get involved in the Department of Health’s consultation process. Whilst is process is now closed I would like to encourage people to continue to support calls for plain packaging, as we are already seeing beneficial effects from the ban in public spaces.
I will continue my support for the proposed change both in and outside of parliament on behalf of my constituents and would urge those of you reading this to get involved in campaigns to introduce plain packaging, and check out the Plain Package Protects Link and Greater Manchester Public Heath Network webpage