A LEADING doctor has urged the town’s MP to back a new law on plain cigarette packaging.
The Government has announced it will bring forward legislation before the General Election which will impose a standard design on tobacco products as a way of making them less attractive to children. MPs will be given a free vote on the issue meaning they do not have to follow the Government’s position which is supportive of the proposal.
Redditch MP Karen Lumley has previously voted against a ban on smoking in private cars when children are present because it was unenforceable, but she was on the losing side and the move is set to become law in October.
And Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group, said he hoped and expected Mrs Lumley would back the plain packaging law as it was vital they did everything they could to protect children from the damage smoking causes.
Writing on Twitter he said: “Plain cigarette packaging is not a ‘libertarian’ issue, it is about protecting children and reducing smoking rates.”
In Redditch 20.1 per cent of the adult population smoke – more than 13,000 people – rising to 37 per cent amongst routine and manual workers.
Between 2011 and 2013 smoking accounted for 349 deaths in the borough with 142 of those from lung cancer and 37 from heart disease, but new research shows it has a wider rotting effect on the body causing significant damage to the musculoskeletal system and increasing the risk of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Karen Lumley said she was ‘not normally an advocate for the nanny state’ and believed in leaving people to live their lives without the unnecessary interference of overbearing Government.
“I am however quite relaxed about the idea of plain packaging for cigarettes. Smokers and non-smokers alike are well aware of the health risks posed by smoking, and should therefore be allowed to make an informed choice on whether they do or don’t want to smoke.” she said.
“We cannot hideaway however from the fact many smokers start smoking when they are very young.
“We must do more to stop children smoking and on balance I believe that plain packaging is a reasonable step towards doing this. If responsible and informed adults still wish to continue to smoke then they are perfectly within their rights to do so.”