Britain’s Health Secretary Calls For Smoke Free Britian
Britain’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has spoken out about his belief that Britain should be aspiring to become “smoke free Britain”. The comments came during a House of Commons debate and Mr. Hunt responded to one of his own MPs regarding the issue.
His comments were no doubt fuelled by recent calls for a ban on smoking in public parks and recreation areas and following the publication of a landmark NHS report outlining the NHS’ strategy for reducing deaths caused by smoking related illnesses.
35,000+ People In UK Die Every Year Of Lung Cancer
More than 35,000 people in the UK die from lung cancer on a yearly basis and it is figures like these which are making some people think that a complete ban on public smoking is what’s needed to curb the habit; especially amongst the young.
Additional Extreme Measures Proposed
Other extreme measures have been suggested in addition to banning smoking in public areas; doctors at this year’s British Medical Association meeting asked that a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco be made for anyone born after the year 2000. This would they say, phase out addiction and eventually it would become obsolete.
Human Rights Groups Feel Smokers Are Being Victimised
Some human rights groups however believe that these suggestions are an insult to the intelligence of the public and that if such extreme measures are to be taken against tobacco addiction then why not alcohol? Alcohol causes many thousands of deaths every year in the UK and the social effects are also widespread with alcoholism being cited as a leading cause in domestic abuse and unemployment.
For some, the ban on smoking in public areas would be a positive thing if only for the fact that it stops the risk of second hand smoke being inhaled by non-smokers; second hand smoke is thought to cause around 60,000 deaths per year. Added to that the fact that children and impressionable youngsters would not be exposed to smoking at all unless they were to see their own families smoking, the idea seems like a positive one.
Could Heavy Taxation Be The Way Forward?
But when is a ban a positive thing and when is it an infringement of personal choice? Perhaps a heavy taxation of cigarettes might be a more balanced solution to the problem; if smokers were unable to fund their habit, would it stop them smoking at all? In some cases this is almost certainly what would happen…smokers who simply could not afford the habit would be forced to seek alternatives such as NHS help with withdrawal symptoms.
It is unlikely that a massive tax on smoking would create a black market because with safe alternative to smoking such as E-cigarettes readily available, people would simply switch from smoking to vaping.
The debate is ongoing and as it is a highly contentious one there will be many more impassioned speeches within the House of Commons…what the outcome will be however remains to be seen.