UK government campaign titled “Better Health Smoke Free” aims to educate adult smokers about how their habit can influence younger people to take up smoking.
A new campaign released by the UK government titled “Better Health Smoke Free” aims to educate on how adult smokers can influence younger people to take up the habit. Featuring a number of experts on the topic, the Better Health Smoke Free campaign explains that research has shown that teens whose primary caregiver smoked were more than twice as likely to have tried cigarettes (26% vs 11% ) and four times as likely to be a regular smoker (4.9% vs 1.2%).

In a film released last year, the NHS and behavioural health experts discussed the link between smoking parents and the subsequent likelihood of their children to smoke. The speakers included GP Dr Nighat Arif, child psychologist Dr Bettina Hohnen, and smoking cessation experts Professor Nick Hopkinson and Dr Anthony Laverty of Imperial College London, who urged parents to act as positive role models by quitting smoking.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, Maggie Throup MP, added that now a particularly good time to give up smoking is the new year. “We know that many people make a quit attempt in January, and while there are so many good reasons to stop smoking for yourself, we hope that this new campaign – by highlighting the inter-generational smoking link with parents influencing their children – will be the added motivation many need to ditch the cigarettes for good this year,” she said.

“With so much help and support available for parents, carers and anyone looking to quit – including the NHS Quit Smoking app, support on Facebook, daily emails and texts, and an online Personal Quit Plan – you won’t be alone in your New Year’s resolution.”

Pregnant women should be offered financial incentives

In other news, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said that pregnant women who are unable to quit smoking should be offered financial incentives to help them achieve the goal. The RCP said that at any point of contact with the NHS, smokers should be provided with “opt-out smoking cessation services.” Moreover, said the group, bearing in mind that most smokers are often from “lower socio-economic groups”, pregnant women should be given financial incentives to motivate them in achieving the goal.

These suggestions were put forward as part of a report compiled by the RCP, addressing what can be done to achieve the government’s “Smoke Free 2030” target. Sadly recent data has indicated that as it stands the goal will not actually be achieved until 2050.

“The ability of the UK and other countries to rise to major public health challenges is beyond doubt; the Covid-19 pandemic, by far the biggest new challenge to UK and global health in decades, has attracted a public health and economic response of a scale unique in the modern era,” read the report. “Yet in 2020, when Covid-19 killed around 80,000 UK citizens, tobacco smoking killed 94,000.”

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