HC Deb 10 April 2002 vol 383 cc491-2W
Hywel Williams

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps are being taken to further reduce tobacco use among children and adults. [42946]

Yvette Cooper

In 1988, the Government introduced a comprehensive strategy to reduce tobacco use among children and adults, 'Smoking Kills'. Key features area comprehensive mass media campaign highlighting the dangers of smoking and publicising the free NHS smoking helpline (0800 169 0 169) with additional helplines for pregnant women and ethnic minorities; specific programmes targeting manual groups, pregnant women and ethnic minorities; projects designed to provide focused support in communities such as in prisons and hospitals; smoking cessation services across the country; nicotine replacement therapy and Zyban on prescription; an enforcement protocol strengthening action against illegal sales to under 16s; a public places charter encouraging the provision of smoke-free areas; banning tobacco advertising and promotion. The Government have taken on Lord Clement-Jones' Private Member's Bill which completed its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 15 March; as well as concerted action to tackle smuggling.

Specifically aimed at reducing tobacco use among young people, the Department has commissioned 'Smokescreen', a film-making initiative developed by young people for young people. The films have been shown on cable TV and a teaching pack is being produced for schools. The Government's Healthy Schools Programme also addresses the health risks posed by smoking and substance misuse.

In England, the prevalence rate in the 11 to 15 year-old age group has fallen from 13 per cent. in 1996 to 10 per cent. in 2001. In adults (aged 16+) prevalence rates fell from 28 per cent. in 1998 to 27 per cent. in 2000. The prevalence in adult manual groups in England fell from 33 per cent. in 1998 to 31 per cent. in 2000.