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Smoking

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To a ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research his Department has undertaken into the major health effects of passive smoking in (a) adults, with particular reference to pregnant women and (b) children, with particular reference to babies aged between eight and 12 weeks. [97575]

The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health concluded in its 1998 Report that:

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer and, in those with long-term exposure, the increased risk is in the order of 20–30 per cent.
Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of ischaemic heart diseases and if current published estimates of magnitude of relative risk are validated, such exposures represents a substantial public hazard.
Smoking in the presence of infants and children is a cause of serious respiratory illness and asthmatic attacks
Sudden infant death syndrome, the main cause of post-neonatal death in the first year of life, is associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. The association is judged to be one of cause and effect.
Middle ear disease in children is linked with parental smoking and this association is likely to be causal.

The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health subsequently re-iterated this view in its 2001 Annual Report. The statement can be found on the following websites:

www.doh.gov.uk/scoth/index.htm
http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/doh/tobacco/report.htrn

No further recent research has been commissioned by the Department into the health effects of passive smoking.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned on the effects of passive smoking in the workplace; and if he will make a statement. [98492]

The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health concluded in its 1998 Report that:

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer and, in those with long term exposure, the increased risk is in the order of 20–30 per cent.

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of ischaemic heart diseases and if current published estimates of magnitude of relative risk are validated, such exposures represents a substantial public hazard

The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health subsequently re-iterated this view in its 2001 Annual Report. The statement can be found on the following websites:

www.doh.gov.uk/scoth/index.htm

http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/doh/tobacco/report.htm

No further recent research has been commissioned by the Department into the health effects of passive smoking.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research his Department has carried out into the health implications of passive smoking. [98921]

[holding answer 27 February 2003]: The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health concluded in its 1998 Report that:

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer and, in those with long-term exposure, the increased risk is in the order of 20–30 per cent.
Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of ischaemic heart diseases and if current published estimates of magnitude of relative risk are validated, such exposures represents a substantial public hazard.
Smoking in the presence of infants ant children is a cause of serious respiratory illness and asthmatic attacks.
Sudden infant death syndrome, the main cause of post-neonatal death in the first year of life, is associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. The association is judged to be one of cause and effect.
Middle ear disease in children is linked with parental smoking and this association is likely to be causal.

The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health subsequently re-iterated this view in its 2001 Annual Report. The statement can be found on the following websites:

www.doh.gov.u1c/scoth/index.htm
http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/doh/tobacco/report.htm

No further recent research has been commissioned by the Department into the health effects of passive smoking.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on (a) smoking in public places and (1)) passive smoking. [98843]

The White Paper, "Smoking Kills" committed the Government to working in partnership with industry to reduce the problem of exposure to passive smoke through voluntary action rather than legislation. It praised the example of the licensed hospitality industry, which agreed, with Government support, the Public Places Charter. The Charter commits signatories to increasing the provision of facilities for non-smokers, improving ventilation and giving customers better information about the level of smoke-free facilities in a given establishment.We consider that if we are to ensure protection against passive smoking in public places, we need action nationally and locally both to raise awareness of the risks associated with passive smoking and to increase the prevalence of smoke free environments. The Department of Health will continue to encourage the development of smoke free policies, working with employers and communities.At a national level the Department of Health has, since 1998, worked with the hospitality industry to reduce the problem of exposure to passive smoking through the development of a Public Places Charter. An independent evaluation of the Charter is being commissioned, and further work will be considered on the basis of the findings.Locally, the Department is funding tobacco control alliances across England to work in communities to raise awareness and to increase the number of smoke-free environments. Findings from these projects will inform future development of the Department's work in this area.

The Department of Health will, in addition to action already under way, develop education and information resources to raise awareness and understanding of the risks associated with passive smoking.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to support legislation against smoking in the workplace. [98922]

[holding answer 27 February 2003]: Although the Government do not support legislation to ban smoking in the workplace, existing health and safety legislation, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, places responsibility on employers to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees.The Government are giving careful consideration to the Health and Safety Commission's proposals for an Approved Code of Practice on Smoking in the Workplace (ACoP). While consideration of the ACoP continues, other action is being taken to encourage the provision of smoke free areas in public and workplaces.We consider that if we are to ensure protection against passive smoking in public places and workplaces, we need action nationally and locally both to raise awareness of the risks associated with passive smoking and to increase the prevalence of smoke free environments. The Department will continue to encourage the development of smoke free policies, working with employers and communities.Locally, the Department is funding tobacco control alliances across England to work in communities to raise awareness and to increase the number of smoke free environments. Findings from these projects will inform future development of the Department's work in this area.The Department will, in addition to action already under way, develop education and information resources to raise awareness and understanding of the risks associated with passive smoking.