Posted: Mon 8th Nov 2021

Plans to make Wales smoke-free by the end of the decade have been unveiled by the Welsh Government

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Nov 8th, 2021

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Plans to make Wales smoke-free by the end of the decade have been unveiled by the Welsh Government.

A consultation for the long-term tobacco control strategy in Wales has launched today, with the overall aim of having less than five per cent of the population smoking.

This year saw Wales become the first nation in the UK to introduce smoke-free playgrounds, school grounds and hospital grounds.

Next year (on 1 March 2022) will see smoking bedrooms in hotels and guest houses banned, as well as in self-contained holiday accommodation such as cottages, caravans and AirBnBs.

According to the Welsh Government, whilst around 14 per cent of people in Wales smoke, “there are strong links between smoking and deprivation with those in more deprived areas more likely to smoke.”

Research has also shown that individuals with a mental health illness are about twice as likely to smoke as others who do not suffer from mental health issues, say the Welsh Government.

The consultation, which will run until the end of January 2022, will seek people’s views on how to create a smoke-free society in Wales as well as the detailed actions set out in the first two-year delivery plan.

It aims to tackle health inequalities and more help to help people quit smoking.

The strategy will also look at how additional support can be given to help more people quit through the free NHS service, Help Me Quit as well as plans to expand help for smokers who are in hospital. Publicly funded organisations could also be asked to be smoke-free and to support their workforce to get advice and support to quit smoking.

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle said: “Our ambition is make Wales smoke free and to support people to make choices to improve their health and wellbeing.

“Wales has led the way by being the first part of the UK to ban smoking in some public places, including public playgrounds and school grounds where children and young people spend their time but we know we need to do more to strengthen our smoke-free message, particularly to the next generation and change how they and wider society view smoking.

“Smoking remains the leading cause of premature death here in Wales and a major contributor to health inequalities.

“Whilst we have made progress in recent years in reducing the number of people smoking, we want to go further and be ambitious to create a Wales where smoking is far from the norm.

“I would encourage people to share their views on this consultation and help shape future decisions.”

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Frank Atherton, added: “Smoking is extremely damaging to health. In 2018, around 5,600 deaths in people aged 35 and over and 28,000 admissions to hospital were attributable to smoking.

“We need to work together as a society, including government, health professionals and communities to ensure we are doing all we can to tackle smoking and reduce the ill health smoking causes.

“I would encourage anyone wanting to give up smoking to access Wales’ free NHS support service, HelpMeQuit for help and support.”

Campaigners have criticised plans to make Wales ‘smoke-free’ by 2030.
Responding to the launch of the consultation, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said:
“Tobacco is a legal product. No-one should be forced to quit smoking yet freedom of choice and personal responsibility are being replaced by coercion and creeping prohibition.
“If people choose not to smoke that’s fine but setting a target for a smoke-free Wales is a green light for politicians and campaigners who seem determined to regulate and control people’s lives.”
He added: “Instead of imposing further restrictions on adults who smoke, a more progressive policy would focus on education and harm reduction.
“Smokers should be informed about safer nicotine products like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco but ultimately, if adults still choose to smoke, that choice must be respected by government and society.”

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