KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — The UK government has pledged to end smoking in England by 2030. It has taken this pledge as a step towards addressing the root causes of preventable diseases.
A green paper titled “Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s” has been published outlining priorities which include the promotion of physical activity, focusing on those at risk of diabetes such as the overweight and obese, as well as looking at broader measures such as improving the quality of rest and sleep.
A major objective of the paper is to suggest interventions which could help reduce the number of years lost due to being in poor or bad health.
It has been estimated that in the UK, women and men spend 20 percent of their lives in ill health, losing 19 and 16 years repectively. This is worsened in conditions of deprivation and poverty.
One of the majour concerns highlighted in the green paper is the impact of smoking.
“Thanks to our concerted efforts on smoking, we now have one of the lowest smoking rates in Europe with fewer than one in six adults smoking,” the document states.
England was one of the first countries to ban smoking in public places as well as introducing plain packaging for cigarettes.
The paper outlines several approaches to tackle this issue of ill health, it includes:
- Smokers who are hospitalised are automatically offered assistance to quit
- Increasing funding for diabetes prevention programmes focusing on those most at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Encouraging “active play” in nurseries and travelling to school by bicycle and foot
- Strengthening toothbrushing programmes in nurseries and primary schools
- Developing national guidance on daily recommended hours of sleep
The government previously announced its aim to create a smoke-free society by 2025. Currently 14 percent of adults in the UK smoke.
The document states that the aim is to “shift the health system away from just treating illness, and towards preventing problems in the first place”.