Alex speaks to the House of Commons on health inequalities

It’s time for the Government to do more to tackle health inequalities

In a speech to the House of Commons made on Monday 11th May, Alex spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on existing health inequalities which have a disproportionate effect on communities such as his constituency of Stockton North.

Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, affecting the lungs and airways and has shown to be much more serious in those with pre-existing health conditions. The majority of deaths also occur in those with pre-existing conditions. Lung health is therefore an integral part of tackling this health crisis.

Smokers are more likely to report symptoms and are more likely to experiences severe symptoms. Alex is therefore calling on the Government to do more to properly fund smoking cessation services.

This will help achieve the Government’s goal of being smoke free by 2030. Furthermore it will lift one million people out of poverty as well as give some of the poorest households more disposable income.

Alex suggests that a polluter charge on tobacco companies will go a long way to fund stop smoking services and has asked the minister to commit to introducing this charge to create a sustainable way of funding these programmes.

Alex said:

“Prior to this crisis, I’ve regularly called on the Government to do more when it comes to lung health – to reverse cuts and fund public health properly, for better tobacco control and to tackle health inequality.”

“There’s a 20 year average life expectancy gap in my constituency of Stockton North, men living in the town centre ward can expect to live 20 years fewer than his counterpart living in Wynyard. Other health challenges many face are down to lung health and the Government’s failure to effectively deal with it.”

“I’m calling on them to invest properly in tobacco control and smoking cessation programme. If you’re more likely to die of Covid-19 with pre-existing conditions, it is essential that we tackle them head on.”

“Supporting smoking cessation is an excellent place to start. We don’t know if this will happen again and we need to be ready. We need to give lung health the attention it desperately needs.”