HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc403-4W
Mr. Streeter

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment the Government have made of the impact of people smoking on television and in films upon young people's decision on whether or not to start smoking. [176288]

Miss Melanie Johnson

[holding answer 27 May 2004]: The Government are taking steps to reduce the impact of smoking on young people. The glamourising of tobacco products through advertising, promotion and sponsorship as well as through their depiction in the media is linked to smoking rates.

That is why the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 provides for a comprehensive ban on advertising of tobacco products. There is also an Office of Communications code covering the portrayal of smoking in television programmes. This code specifically requires that the portrayal of smoking should be avoided in children's programmes, and included only when there is a strong editorial case for inclusion. In other programmes likely to be widely seen by young people, smoking should be included only where context or dramatic veracity requires it. In such programmes smoking should not be prominently featured as a normal and attractive activity.

The independent British Board of Film Classification is currently undertaking a consultation exercise to update its guidelines on granting classifications for films which can be seen by children. The consultation seeks comments on whether smoking in a film should have an impact on classification and what that impact should be. The new guidelines will be published at the end of the year.

Mr. Baron

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact the NHS smoking cessation services have had on the number of people who have stopped smoking in each year since 1999. [176103]

Miss Melanie Johnson

[holding answer 29 May 2004]: The number of people who have stopped smoking at the four week follow-up stage in each year since 1999 is given in the table.

Number successfully quitting smoking at four week follow-up

(based on self-report) of those setting a quit date in 1999–2000,

2000–01,2001–02,2002–03 and April to December 2003— England

1999–2000 5,761
2000–01 64,554
2001–02 119,834
2002–03 124,082
Total April to December 2003 112,174
Total April 1999 to December 2003 426,405


1. In 1999–2000 smoking cessation services were set up in Health Action Zones (HAZ), with services rolled out across the NHS to all health authorities in 2000–01.

2. Data for 2003 are provisional.

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