NHS Confederation responds to the new Tobacco and Vapes Bill introduced

Dr Layla McCay responded the new Tobacco and Vapes Bill introduced

20 March 2024

Responding to the announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care that the new Tobacco and Vapes Bill will be introduced into Parliament, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation said:

“Health leaders will welcome this Bill as a step in the right direction to tackle smoking, which remains the leading cause of preventable illness and is one of the main drivers of health inequalities, with higher prevalence of smoking in lower incomes. Smoking causes 76,000 deaths a year in the UK, so we know radical measures need to be put in place if we want to get the nation healthier. We hope the new Bill is supported through Parliament, as in the long-term it will save thousands of lives and close the gap on these inequalities.

“Tackling the harms of tobacco and vaping through creating a smokefree generation is a key goal of local health and care leaders and our members have been calling for SmokeFree legislation since the 2022 Khan Review. It is important to recognise the influence ICSs can have in their areas by helping bridge the gaps to ensure that everyone has equal access to the resources they need to quit smoking and lead healthier, longer lives. Systems can also assist in engaging their communities in important conversations about health policy that can drive behaviour change.

“Finally, the Bill will provide legislative action to reduce the burden of smoking related illnesses within communities and have a long-term positive impact on local and national economies. By focusing on prevention, the Bill will improve the health of the nation, but also, with the estimated total costs of smoking in England more than £17 billion, including productivity losses of up to £14 billion, it can help improve economic productivity and create a more sustained NHS given the constrained resources the service is dealing with.”