Hertfordshire councillors back government’s plans for smokefree generation

Smoking is responsible for 64,000 UK deaths a year
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Government plans to stop anyone aged 14 or younger from ever being able to legally be sold cigarettes have been backed by county councillors in Hertfordshire.

The government signalled it wanted to legislate to make the restriction on sales possible last year.

And on Tuesday (February 6), those measures were backed by a meeting of the county council’s public health and community safety cabinet panel.

County councillors are backing government aims for a smokefree generation.County councillors are backing government aims for a smokefree generation.
County councillors are backing government aims for a smokefree generation.

A motion – proposed by executive member for public health and community safety Cllr Morris Bright – noted that smoking was responsible for 64,000 UK deaths a year, with one in four cancer related deaths attributed to smoking.

And it expressed ‘strong support’ for the proposals to ‘create a smoke free generation’.

It put the annual cost of smoking to society at £17billion – due to stresses on healthcare, productivity and social care costs.

And it said smoking was the cause of numerous illnesses, including stillbirths, lung disease, heart disease, stroke and dementia.

The motion also welcomed government legislation to tackle the harmful effects of vaping.

Backed unanimously by the panel, it was seconded by Liberal Democrat Cllr Sandy Walkington.

At the meeting Cllr Walkington pointed to concerns within the parliamentary Conservative Party about the proposed legislation.

And Cllr Bright committed to write to the Secretary of State and to circulate that letter to all Hertfordshire MPs to show what the panel had agreed.

Data suggests, that in 2022, around 11.6 per cent of Hertfordshire residents – that’s 108,000 – were smokers, with concentrations of smokers in Broxbourne, Welwyn and Hatfield.

Commenting on the motion after the meeting, Cllr Bright said: “We have been campaigning on this important issue for some time and I am delighted that we received unanimous support for this motion.

Smoking has a devastating impact on individual health, causing around 64,000 deaths each year and causing many long-term conditions. It also costs society £17billion each year in health, social care and productivity costs.

“We strongly support the government proposal to create a smokefree generation.

“It will help ensure that the number of people smoking in Hertfordshire continues to decline, and enable us to tackle the alarming rise in youth vaping and reduce the harmful effects of this on young people.”