Smokefree 2030 — [Caroline Nokes in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:40 am on 26th April 2022.

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Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 10:40 am, 26th April 2022

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Nokes. I thank my hon. Friend Bob Blackman and Mary Kelly Foy for securing this important debate. I wish my hon. Friend a very happy birthday—it is probably one of the best birthdays he has had, given that he has started his day this way.

I am grateful to all hon. Members for their participation. We debate smokefree 2030 regularly, which indicates how important it is. We are all passionate about making England smokefree by 2030, and the devolved authorities have the same passion. The personal circumstances expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East no doubt drive his passion, and I am sure that the personal circumstances of other hon. Members drive their passion too. I appreciate the passion and dedication shown by Members from all parties, who work together to tackle the harms caused by smoking. I am pleased to update the House on our progress towards achieving the Government’s smokefree 2030 ambition.

Over the past 20 years, through successive and progressive policies, as Andrew Gwynne indicated, and regulatory measures, we have made progress in reducing smoking rates. Smoking prevalence in England is now 13.5%—the lowest on record. That is a fantastic public health story, but there are still nearly 6 million smokers in this country.