New cancer report shows why smokefree law MUST be comprehensive.

Tuesday 05 July 2005

Media Release from ASH – For Immediate Release: Tuesday 5th July 2005

There is an appalling north south divide in cancer rates and deaths according to a new report released today by the Office for National Statistics. [1] The report highlights distinct geographical patterns for several of the cancers strongly linked to smoking tobacco, with a higher than average incidence of cancers of the lung, larynx, lip, mouth and pharynx across the north of England and central Scotland.

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

“Yet again, tobacco is shown to be the leading cause of preventable death in the UK. These shocking statistics should serve as a wake up call for the Government. The current proposals for a partial smokefree law will not remove the huge health inequalities revealed in this report. It would be outrageous to protect most workers from secondhand smoke, but ignore pubs which don’t serve food when the majority of these pubs are in the North.”

The Smokefree Action coalition, consisting of many of Britain’s leading medical and public health organisations [2], today releases a major survey of smoking policies for every Council in England and Wales. Full details of the survey, and a summary of polices for each Council, can be found here (Excel spreadsheet).

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[1] Cancer Atlas of UK and Ireland. ONS

[2] Smokefree Action is launched today by a coalition of groups including ASH, Asthma UK, the British Heart Foundation, the British Medical Association, Cancer Research UK, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the National Heart Forum and the Royal College of Physicians. See Smokefree Action is campaigning for a comprehensive smokefree law covering all workplaces and enclosed public places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, of the kind now in place in Ireland and last week approved by the Scottish Parliament.