Tobacco control policy overview

Tobacco control policy overview | House of Commons Library

The Government’s new tobacco control plan was published in 2017, and seeks to reduce smoking overall and target this inequality in smoking rates. This briefing paper provides a summary on the tobacco control plan, tobacco control policies and smoking cessation services.

Full document available here

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Alcohol, drugs and tobacco: commissioning support pack

Annually updated alcohol, drugs and tobacco commissioning support pack for local authorities | Public Health England

This commissioning support pack will help local authorities to develop joint strategic needs assessment and local joint health and wellbeing strategies which effectively address public health issues relating to alcohol, drug and tobacco use.

The pack covers 4 topics, which are:

  • planning alcohol harm prevention, treatment and recovery in adults
  • planning drugs prevention, treatment and recovery in adults
  • planning comprehensive interventions for young people
  • planning comprehensive local tobacco control interventions

For each of these topics, there are:

  • a set of good practice principles and indicators to help local areas assess need and plan and commission effective services and interventions
  • bespoke data for each local area to help them commission effective services and interventions

Documents available via Public Health England

Protecting children from tobacco

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The World Health Organization European Region has published Tobacco-free generations: protecting children from tobacco in the WHO European Region.

This report highlights ongoing and emerging tobacco-related issues that affect children in Europe and examines the regulatory frameworks, commitments and other tools that countries should use to protect children from tobacco. This also includes more novel approaches that could be used to pave the way towards a tobacco-free European Region.

Tobacco control playbook

This resource highlights the arguments and approaches that leaders in health systems across Europe have developed and used to counteract and succeed against the tobacco industry. |WHO Europe

The Tobacco Control Playbook has been developed by collecting numerous evidence-based arguments from different thematic areas, reflecting the challenges that tobacco control leaders have faced while implementing various articles of the WHO FCTC and highlighting arguments they have developed in order to counter and succeed against the tobacco industry.

This is the start of what is intended to be a living document, which will be updated and extended with further arguments and on the basis of feedback, as well as any developments in tobacco industry approaches. Everyone concerned with tobacco control is invited to contribute to its success by continuing to offer arguments and responses, and sharing their experiences through a dedicated website.

Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England

Outlining plans to reduce smoking in England, with the aim of creating a smoke-free generation | Department of Health

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The objectives of the tobacco control plan are to:

  • reduce the number of 15 year olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less
  • reduce smoking among adults in England from 15.5% to 12% or less
  • reduce the inequality gap in smoking prevalence, between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population
  • reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.5% to 6% or less

The aim is to achieve these objectives by the end of 2022.

Full report available here

Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016

Cigarette smoking among adults including the proportion of people who smoke including demographic breakdowns, changes over time, and e-cigarettes. | Office for National Statistics

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Main points

  • In 2016, of all adult survey respondents in the UK, 15.8% smoked which equates to around 7.6 million in the population.
  • Of the constituent countries, 15.5% of adults in England smoked; for Wales, this figure was 16.9%; Scotland, 17.7% and Northern Ireland, 18.1%.
  • In the UK, 17.7% of men were current smokers which was significantly higher in comparison with 14.1% of women.
  • Those aged 18 to 24 in the UK experienced the largest decline in smoking prevalence of 6.5 percentage points since 2010.
  • Among current smokers in Great Britain, men smoked 12.0 cigarettes each day on average whereas women smoked 11.0 cigarettes each day on average; these are some of the lowest levels observed since 1974.
  • In Great Britain, 5.6% of respondents in 2016 stated they currently used an e-cigarette in 2016, which equates to approximately 2.9 million people in the population.

Access the full document: Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016

Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews has published ‘Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use’.

Tobacco use is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease worldwide. Standardised tobacco packaging is an intervention intended to reduce the promotional appeal of packs and can be defined as packaging with a uniform colour (and in some cases shape and size) with no logos or branding, apart from health warnings and other government-mandated information, and the brand name in a prescribed uniform font, colour and size. Australia was the first country to implement standardised tobacco packaging between October and December 2012, France implemented standardised tobacco packaging on 1 January 2017 and several other countries are implementing, or intending to implement, standardised tobacco packaging.

The objective of the study was to assess the effect of standardised tobacco packaging on tobacco use uptake, cessation and reduction.

The available evidence suggests that standardised packaging may reduce smoking prevalence. Only one country had implemented standardised packaging at the time of this review, so evidence comes from one large observational study that provides evidence for this effect. A reduction in smoking behaviour is supported by routinely collected data by the Australian government. Data on the effects of standardised packaging on non-behavioural outcomes (e.g. appeal) are clearer and provide plausible mechanisms of effect consistent with the observed decline in prevalence. As standardised packaging is implemented in different countries, research programmes should be initiated to capture long term effects on tobacco use prevalence, behaviour, and uptake. The researchers did not find any evidence suggesting standardised packaging may increase tobacco use.

Read the full text here