Welsh Gov plan to make Wales ‘smoke-free’ by end of decade – with fewer than 5% lightning up
The Welsh Government plan to make Wales “smoke-free” by the end of the decade, with fewer than 5% of the population lighting up.
Around 14% of th people of Wales currently smoke but the Deputy Minister for Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle said that it remained the leading cause of premature death in Wales and a “major contributor to health inequalities”.
She added that there were 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, she said.
The Wesh Government have today launched a consultation on the subject that will be open until 31 January.
“Our ambition is make Wales smoke free and to support people to make choices to improve their health and wellbeing,” Lynne Neagle said.
“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.
“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.”
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.
Making more public places smoke-free protected people from harmful second-hand smoke, and these areas have an important role in making smoke-free the norm and in supporting more smokers to quit, Lynne Neagle said.
The consultation launched today 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.
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. Publically funded organisations could also be asked to be smoke-free and to support their workforce to get advice and support to quit smoking.
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Frank Atherton, said: “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.”
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As an ex smoker, i find this appalling that the Welsh Government is introducing more restrictions on smoking and curtailing more personal liberties especially when they cite research that smoking is more prevelant in deprivation area and and of those with mental health issues, and does not address the hard issues of deprivation and shortfalls in mental health services, will the WG provide more to address the underlying societial problems or are they just skimming the surface to ease the burden on the beleagued welsh NHS ?
Smoking isn’t just a “personal liberty”. As you allude to – the health effects of smoking on the smoker, as well as people exposed to smoke, puts a massive burden on the health service. So the taxpayer ends up paying the cost of a “personal liberty” – making it not so personal after all. Likewise, non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are harmed, too, not just the smoker. Dealing with deprivation and mental health problems are important, but it’s not true to suggest that deprivation or mental health problems cause smoking. Given the cost of cigarettes, its more accurate to say… Read more »
Freedom is the sweetest thing. Ours is bleeding under the whip of the Welsh government.