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Smoking

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th November 2017.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 12:00 am, 14th November 2017

What steps he is taking to reduce smoking rates.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Adult smoking prevalence is now 15.5%, the lowest-ever. As the House will be aware, in July we published a tobacco control plan for England, which sets out stretching ambitions to reduce smoking prevalence still further and commits us to a series of actions to deliver those ambitions. Our end goal, as we have made clear, is a smoke-free generation.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree that one of the most effective ways of helping people to give up smoking is the provision of smoking cessation services? In Harrow, the local unit managed to help 4,000 people attempt to give up smoking, with more than 50% doing so, but the answer from the local council has been to close the unit—that is very ineffective. Will he take action to make sure that this does not happen across the country?

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue. Local authorities, not Ministers in Whitehall, are best placed to take local spending decisions, but they must be accountable for their decisions. That is why we publish information at local authority level on smoking prevalence and quit numbers, so that local decision makers can be held to account. We also offer them expert support from Public Health England. I have a strong feeling that he will continue to hold those in Harrow to account.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence)

I am a reformed smoker—it was quite a battle. What proposals do Her Majesty’s Government have to enlist people like me to help other people to kick the weed? We know how to do it.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

What an offer, Mr Speaker! Sustainability and transformation partnerships in all areas are to draw up local plans across one NHS area, including on the public health prevention agenda. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman volunteers his services to his local STP; I suspect it will take his hand off.