CAMPAIGNING MP Sir Kevin Barron has suggested cigarette companies help people trying to stub out their tobacco habit.
The Rother Valley MP welcomed the publication of the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan, he welcomed the plan but questioned where the funding for smoking cessation services would come from.
He said politicians should look at whether a link-up with industry might bridge the gap.
Sir Kevin said during a Parliamentary debate last Wednesday: “Despite a long-term reduction in smoking rates, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable, premature death and ill health, accounting for around 100,000 deaths each year in the UK.
“In Rotherham, alone the smoking rate among people in managerial and professional occupations is 10.2 per cent, but that leaps to 29.4 per cent amongst those who have never worked or are long-term unemployed.
“These facts clearly show that we are still struggling to get through to certain groups within society, the government must do more to identify ways of getting through to these difficult to reach people.
“If the tobacco industry is willing to commit to a future based around e-cigarettes and other reduced harm products, we should take them up on the offer and allow Government and Local Authorities to partner with them for the financial and technical help needed to help smokers quit.”
In Rotherham, 18.3 per cent of the population smoke.
This compares to 17.7 per cent across Yorkshire and the Humber and is well above the England average of 15.5 per cent.
The Government plan aims to achieve a smokefree generation with a combination of preventing, support for people quitting smoking, focussing on areas with higher smoking rates and keeping duty rates high to make tobacco less affordable.
Smoking causes around 79,000 preventable deaths in England every year and is estimated to cost the economy more than of £11 billion annually.