Government should back CMO’s call to tackle tobacco smuggling and make ALL workplaces smokefree

Tuesday 19 July 2005

ASH news release: For immediate release: Tuesday 19 July 2005


Government should back CMO’s call to tackle tobacco smuggling and make ALL workplaces smokefree


Smoking is once again a major feature of the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report, released today. The CMO notes that tobacco smuggling remains a major problem, despite the government’s efforts to clamp down on this illegal activity.   The rise in the legitimate purchase of low-taxed cigarettes from other European countries is also weakening polices aimed at helping people to quit smoking.


Smoking is also the principal, entirely preventable cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a second major feature of the report. Thirdly, the CMO notes in his progress report that the government has made significant progress on plans to make workplaces and public places smokefree but that the current proposals do not go far enough.


ASH fully endorses the Chief Medical Officer’s report.


On the issue of smuggling, Deborah Arnott, Director of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:


“Tobacco smuggling seriously undermines the government’s policy to reduce smoking. As Britain currently holds the EU Presidency, the Government should seize this opportunity to engage European partners in a concerted effort to tackle both the illegal trade in tobacco and to reduce the tax differences in tobacco between EU countries. We also urge the government to push for an effective protocol to deal with smuggling at the global level, under the terms of the international global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”


ASH also paid tribute to the CMO for pushing for a comprehensive policy to make all workplaces smokefree.


“Thanks in part to the CMO’s earlier calls for action, the government is on the brink of introducing legal protection from the hazards of secondhand smoke. We urge the Government to listen to the CMO’s call to make ALL workplaces smokefree and to abandon the proposed exemptions which risk widening health inequalities and leaving thousands of people at risk from the effects of secondhand smoke.”





Notes and links:

[1] On the state of the public health: Annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2004.


Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available


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