The government must develop new strategies to ensure that it allocates the resources and funding necessary to deliver on the ambition of a smokefree generation, said Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham today during a general debate on the Tobacco Control Plan.
Mr Cunningham had originally secured a backbench business debate on the issue of the Tobacco Control Plan, which was taken over and claimed by the Government. Despite this, Alex delivered a speech in the Commons this afternoon outlining where it is that the Government need to focus to achieve the aim of smokefree generation.
During his speech, the Stockton North MP raised a number of measures including: reducing young people’s exposure to smoking in film, television and other media; increasing the age of sale to 21, introduce retail licensing for the sale of tobacco, more comprehensive services for those with mental health conditions and fund regional activity to support enforcement.
Speaking during the debate Alex said:
“Government needs to do much more to support and enhance enforcement where there is illegal activity. Funding cuts have led to significant reductions in the capacity of trading standards departments who are responsible for seizures of illicit tobacco and prosecutions for tobacco fraud.
“From personal experience, I know the capacity simply doesn’t exist. Time and time again I’ve alerted HMRC to ‘tab houses’ selling tobacco illegally in Stockton but the sales simply go on.
“Two of my principal concerns are the much higher incidence of smoking in disadvantaged communities and how we denormalise it and tackle health inequalities by funding mass media campaigns, and also better services for people with mental health conditions.”
You can watch Alex’s full contribution to the debate here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/5c43cc6a-b79c-46ba-b6e6-8a7451366f5e?in=16:00:41&out=16:13:10