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Smoking: Young People

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to help teenagers give up smoking. (254609)

Reducing smoking among young people is a priority for the Government. Much has already been achieved in this area, including raising the age of sale of tobacco products, legislation to strengthen sanctions available against retailers who persistently sell tobacco to children and young people, and smoking is addressed in the National Curriculum and through the Healthy Schools Programme.

Protecting children and young people from smoking was one of four key aspects of the Department’s “Consultation on the future of tobacco control” published on 31 May 2008. A copy has already been placed in the Library. Responses to the consultation are informing the development of a new strategy on tobacco control, which will include action to continue to tackle the uptake of smoking by young people.

The Government this year are taking forward tobacco control legislation intended to protect and support young people in the Health Bill. The Health Bill includes a prohibition on the display of tobacco products, which will help to eliminate the marketing of tobacco products, to which young people are susceptible. The Bill will also provide powers to restrict or ban the sale of tobacco from vending machines, removing a major source of tobacco for young people.

Local stop smoking services are able to provide a range of support options to anyone wanting to quit smoking, including young people. Resources are also available that can be accessed by smokers direct on smoking cessation, these include the NHS “gosmokefree” website and from the general NHS Smoking Helpline (0800 169 0 169).