YouGov poll shows strong public support for tough measures to protect children from tobacco

Friday 30 May 2008

The Smokefree Action Coalition welcomes the launch of the Government’s consultation on the future of tobacco control and the commitment to a new national tobacco control strategy. The launch follows the Scottish Government’s announcement last week of their new tobacco control plans and comes on the same day as the Coalition launches its campaign for a comprehensive tobacco control strategy for the UK.

The coalition of over 30 organisations including Action on Smoking and Health, the British Heart Foundation, British Medical Association and Cancer Research UK, was formed originally to secure legislation to make enclosed public places and workplaces smokefree. Since the new law came into force in England last July the legislation has attracted increased public support. Furthermore, research conducted on behalf of the Coalition has revealed widespread support for a range of measures but particularly high support for interventions that protect children. [1]

On its new website: the Smokefree Action Coalition proposes a 10 point plan to protect child health and reduce health inequalities. Member organisations argue that much of this could be achieved by giving greater help to those smokers who want to quit and by finding new ways of helping those smokers who are not ready to quit.

Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH said:
“Smoking is a habit which is passed down from generation to generation and this pattern can only be broken by fresh thinking and a comprehensive cross-government strategy. The Smokefree Action Coalition welcomes the Government’s consultation on a national tobacco control strategy and its focus on the need to protect children and reduce health inequalities. This is also popular with the public; the YouGov poll shows strong support for tough measures to protect children from the harm caused by tobacco.”

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said:
“We hope the Government will commit to an ambitious plan and targets for a healthier future. Two thirds of smokers start before the age of 18. We need to aim to stop today’s children from starting to smoke and becoming part of these unacceptable and wholly preventable statistics.”
Peter Hollins, British Heart Foundation Chief Executive, said:
“One in five adults is a smoker who wants to quit, so we must continue to find more effective ways of helping them to give up. We must also discourage a new generation of young people from falling into this health trap in the first place.

“A well-funded, long-term national strategy is vital to reducing ill health caused by smoking, and to ensure that smoking rates do not start increasing again.”

Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available
Martin Dockrell 079 4908 9636
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.
[1] According to a YouGov poll commissioned by ASH 77% of adults in England support the law to make all enclosed public places and workplaces smoke free up from 72% in May 2007 and 66% in December 2005. Total sample size for the 2008 survey was 1,056 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th – 22nd February 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults living in England (aged 18 ).

[2] The Smokefree Action Coalition currently comprises the following organisations

Ash (N.Ireland)
Ash Wales
Asthma UK
The British Heart Foundation
Bristol PCT
British Lung Foundation
British Medical Association
British Thoracic Society
British Vascular Foundation
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Cancer Research UK
Diabetes UK
Faculty of Public Health
Fresh NE
Heart of Mersey
Ingcat – The International Nongovernmental Coalition Against Tobacco
Men’s Health Forum
National Heart Forum
No Smoking Day
Pharmacy Health Link
Roy Castle Lung Foundation
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Physicians
Smokefree Alliance for Shropshire County and Telford & Wrekin
Smokefree Essex TCA
Smokefree London
Socialist Health Association
West Midlands TCCC
Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre

YouGov poll of 3,329 adults across the UK


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