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Smoking

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of 11 to 15—year-olds smoke; and what progress his Department is making towards its objective relating to the incidence of smoking in this age group by 2005. [102567]

In 2001, 10 per cent. of 11 to 15—year-olds smoked regularly.The Government White Paper: "Smoking Kills", published in December 1998, included the following target: "To reduce smoking among children from 13 per cent. to 9 per cent. or less by the year 2010; with a fall to 11 per cent. by the year 2005."

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward legislation to ban smoking in public places. [98491]

Although the Government do not support legislation to ban smoking in all public places, existing health and safety legislation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places responsibility on employers to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees.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.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what actions have been taken since the Approved Code of Practice on passive smoking was published. [98640]

The Government 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.The Government are giving careful consideration to the Health and Safety Commission's proposals for an approved code of practice (AcoP). We encourage all employers to introduce smoke-free workplaces, but are particularly concerned about the implications such a code would have for the hospitality sector and small businesses. While consideration of the AcoP continues, other action is being taken to encourage the provision of smoke-free areas in public and workplaces. We recognise that making places entirely smoke free is not always going to be possible and encourage in these circumstances other measures to be taken to reduce people's exposure to smoke.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 how many people have been successful in giving up smoking as a result of the "Together" programme; how many people have participated in the programme; how much the programme has cost since it was established; and what assessment he has made of its success rate. [100784]

The "Together" programme is a six-month pilot study launched on 9 January to determine the effectiveness of long-term support for smokers wishing to give up.As at 28 February, a total of 4,072 smokers had registered to participate in the programme. 2,387 of these participants are known to have given up smoking but it is too early to make any estimate of long-term success.£537,000 has been allocated to the programme.