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expert reaction to MPs debating tobacco and vapes bill today

Scientists react to MPs debating the tobacco and vapes bill.

Prof Stephen Holgate, MRC Clinical Professor Of Immunopharmacology & Honorary Consultant Physician, University of Southampton, said:

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the UK. In adults aged 35 and over tobacco smoking causes at least half a million hospital admissions and 75,000 deaths each year. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with one of so many serious smoking-related illnesses. The prime minister’s pledge to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes would have a truly transformative effect on the health of the next generation. What an amazing legacy this would be where the Nation’s future health comes before any other interests.”

Prof Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said:

“The tobacco industry and their clients are resurrecting all the old arguments that we have come to expect in their efforts to delay and divert this important legislation. Once again we see loaded polling questions and discredited claims about increasing illegal sales. Inevitably these ludicrous arguments will have some traction among MPs that reject any public health measure or have accepted the industry’s hospitality but most will, rightly, not give them the time of day.”

Prof John Iredale FMedSci, Professor of Experimental Medicine, University of Bristol, said:

“We owe it to our children and young people to phase out exposure to tobacco.  As a Junior doctor I saw over and over the havoc wrought by smoking related disease  and death to individuals, breadwinners, the economically active and their families. Let us be clear; it is a killer and a major burden on the precious resource that is the NHS.”

Prof Tara Spires-Jones, President of the British Neuroscience Association and Group Leader at the UK Dementia Research at the University of Edinburgh said:

“From a neuroscience perspective, smoking has long-term negative effects on brain health including an association with increased risk of dementia.  Stopping smoking even later in life is associated with reducing dementia risk. The proposed legislation to create a smokefree generation is likely to reduce the number of people who have dementia in the future.”

Prof Caitlin Notley, Professor of Addiction Sciences, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, said:

“The tobacco and vapes bill is a major opportunity for us to completely change the trajectory of tobacco related disease, by focusing on prevention. If passed, the bill will ensure that no child aged 15 or under from this year will ever be legally able to purchase tobacco. Tobacco smoking is a disease of childhood, since most lifetime smokers started smoking at a young age. Eradicating this and focusing on supporting adult smokers to quit will significantly improve population health.”

Prof Lion Shahab, Professor of Health Psychology and Co-Director of the UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said:

“Today, parliament has the unique opportunity to correct a 100-year-old wrong by voting in favour of a new bill to create a smokefree generation that will make it an offense to sell tobacco to anyone born after January 1st, 2009. When cigarettes first became popular at the beginning of the last century, few could have predicted that smoking would kill 100 million people by the end of the it, and that it continues to kill more than 8 million people each year, including over 75,000 people in the UK.

“By creating a product that is both highly addictive and deadly, the tobacco industry has caused untold misery far and wide. If parliament passes this new bill, it will put the UK at the very forefront of the fight to eradicate one of the most harmful inventions of modern times and protect the future of the next generation to allow them to live a full life, unencumbered by preventable cancers, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.”

Prof Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction, National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, said:

“We have known for decades just how uniquely deadly smoking is, but this knowledge has not been acted upon. The Tobacco and Vapes Bill is a once in a lifetime opportunity to put this right and see the end of tobacco smoking in a generation. We should all come together and support it.”

Our previous output on this bill can be seen at this weblink:

Declared interests

Ann McNeill: no conflicts.

Lion Shahab: no COI

Caitlin Notley: no COI

Tara Spires-Jones: I have no conflicts with this story

For all other experts, no reply to our request for DOIs was received.

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